At the recommendation of my friend Strobel I snagged a copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. It took a week’s worth of Muni rides to read, completing it just at the end of my ride on Friday.
This is not the Tolkien or GRRM knockoff you’ve learned to expect when you pick up a fantasy novel. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fantasy book that was this engaging. There was good world- and character- building, but I’ve come to expect that of any book Strobel recommends. I think what really hooked me with this one was the setting. “A fantasy novel? In the Middle East? Can you even do that?” Apparently you can, and do it very well at that. The setting is familiar enough that the reader immediately feels comfortable in the world yet foreign and exotic enough (at least to those who weren’t raised in the culture) to pique interest at every turn. It also allows Ahmed to put a fresh spin on of some of the more familiar tropes of fantasy novels.
According to the book’s website it’s the first in a trilogy. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ahmed does with these characters in the next two books and then where he takes us after this trilogy is complete.
Nicely done, Saladin. You deserve cake.