Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon

If ever there was a Dungeons and Dragons book set in Arabia, this is it. Now depending on how you feel about that statement will help determine if this is one you want to read.

The main characters are an old ghul hunter (cleric), his dervish apprentice/partner (paladin), the wild girl who changes into a lion (ranger), the lady alchemist (healer), and her sorcerer husband (wizard). They're working together to stop a killing spree caused by an evil necromancer who has been raising ghuls.

They're based around the capital city of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Sitting on the throne is a cruel king that no one much likes and working openly against him is the Falcon Prince, a criminal with grand ambitions and an idealistic hope for the empire. Sort of an Arabian Robin Hood. The city is filled with interesting characters, including the local roving puritans, tea sellers, and whore house mistresses! The author definitely makes the city come alive, and brings the arabian flavor to the front.

I wish I could say I liked it more. I wanted to. I’d hoped to enjoy it at least as much as The Desert of Souls, but it just ended up feeling like a D&D game turned into a novel, and while there isn't anything wrong with that, I'm not sure the author pulled it off as well as he could have. The flavor is great, the characters are interesting enough, the story is solid, but it just doesn't quite come together the way I'd hoped it would.

Also, let's talk about covers. At the top of he post is the UK cover. Not bad. Below are the US hard cover and paper back covers. I'm so glad I didn't see the hard cover first!


Much better!

However... while not being a great book, it does give some really good inspiration for an Al-Quadim/1,001 Nights/Sinbad style game. From the monsters to the magic items, there's a lot of appreciate, and this week I'm going to show off some of that inspirational material.

Tomorrow: Bone Ghul
Thursday: The Cobra Throne
Friday: Alchemist's Dagger


  1. My reaction was precisely yours. I thought it was enjoyable and flavorful but not Hugo material, you could clearly see the RPG mechanics creaking behind the machinery ("Casting this spell will cost me hit poi - coff coff - vitality!") and the tone was a little too Laurell K. Hamilton for my taste.

    1. While it's been a long time since I read any LKHamilton, I can't say I got that vibe off out of it. What gave you that impression?

    2. In that it seemed like an Arabian take on the supernatural detective genre Hamilton helped create.

  2. You piqued my curiosity when you made the "Robin Hood" comparison, rather than Sinbad.

    But that doesn't inspire me to go our and get the book. Roger's comment solidifies that for me.

    1. If a copy falls into your hands, it'll be worth a try, but yeah don't go hunting for it.

      However, if you're looking to get an newish arabian type fantasy, go for Desert of Souls.