Throne of the Crescent Moon

Saladin Ahmed

Book cover

I had heard about this book as a good example of non-Eurocentric fantasy–free of elves, orcs, and the general weight of the dead hand of Tolkien. The setting is an imaginary kingdom, but is clearly Middle-Eastern in style and influenced by the content and imagery of the Thousand and One Nights tales. I appreciated how Ahmed foregrounded some fantasy concepts that are actually Middle Eastern in origin, despite the fact that they have been adopted into the European fantasy milieu–such as ghouls and alchemists (ghuls and alkhemists). The plot and characters were at least as good as “The Name of The Wind,” which I feel like was way more hyped. I guess partly inspired by this book, I’ve recently gotten interested in learning more about Filipino mythology and folklore. The world contains so many fascinating folkloric traditions, and it’s a shame that fantasy literature (at least in English) draws so heavily on a tiny slice of them!

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars