Posts Tagged: Daw

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Publisher: Gollancz - Pages: 304 - Buy: Book/eBook

When I reviewed Seven Princes by John Fultz back in 2011, I heavily criticized the sword and sorcery novel for lacking character, plot, and, well… substance. When I did that, I opened myself up to the criticism that a sword and sorcery novel lacks those things on purpose. They’re all about fun and adventure. I knew that was wrong, but didn’t have a way to prove it. I do now. Saladin Ahmed’s sword and sorcery novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, is a superficial adventure novel at first glance. It also possesses tremendous heart and soul. Not soul in a Biblical sense, although there’s some of that too; I mean soul like Barry Gordy. Every note in Ahmed’s debut comes from an authentic place, a cultural awareness not unlike Motown in the 1960′s.

From a plot standpoint, Throne of the Crescent Moon is about a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the subversive Falcon Prince. In the midst of a brewing rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. The 60-year old Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, is the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat and his young assistant Raseed bas Raseed, is a holy warrior whose swordsmanship is matched only by his devotion to God. When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, they find themselves in a race to save the life of the tyrannical Khalif. Read More »

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines


By Jim C. Hines
Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: 08/07/12
ISBN: 0756407397

It’s interesting to be reviewing a professional author who is also the prohibitive favorite to take home the Best Fan Writer Hugo Award next month. It seems counter intuitive, although it shouldn’t be given the outstanding blog Jim C. Hines maintains. It’s so good, in fact, that I wouldn’t be surprised if many of his blog’s readers have never read his fiction, a category that I certainly fell into before reading Libriomancer.

Hines’ protagonist, and in grand urban fantasy style, first person narrator, Isaac Vainio has the ability to “reach” into books and pull out whatever he touches. Excalibur? Sure. Neutron bomb? Knock yourself out. Get your hand bit by a vampire? Well, there might be some complications.

There were no wands, no fancy spells, no ancient incantations. No hand-waving or runes. Nothing but the words on the page, the collective belief of the readers, and the Libriomancer‘s love of the story.

It all began five hundred years ago when Johannes Gutenberg (yes, that Gutenberg) started a project to control magic. He founded a secret organization known as Die Zwelf Portenaere who “took an oath to preserve the secrecy of magic, protect the world from magical threats, and work to expand our knowledge of magic’s power and potential.” Read More »

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad WilliamsOver on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, you can find an excerpt from The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams. This is being publicized as William’s first foray into Urban Fantasy (though I wonder if what they’d consider The War of the Flowers, if not Urban Fantasy…?) and seems like quite a departure from an author who has long made a living on writing big fat Fantasy and Science Fiction. I recently got a copy of The Dirty Streets of Heaven and was surprised to find that it rings in at under 500 pages, considerably shorter than Tad’s other recent novels.

Of the novel:

Bobby Dollar has a secret. Actually he’s got a ton of them. The most important one is that his real name’s Doloriel and he’s an angel. Not an important angel, maybe, but a rough-and-tumble guy who’s always done his part in the long cold war between Heaven and Hell.

But now he’s stepped into the middle of something that’s got both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls. And if that wasn’t enough, someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. Also, his opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven is the first book in Tad’s new fantasy-fueled thriller series about an afterlife investigator — the angel Doloriel (Bobby Dollar) — who searches for a missing soul and finds himself caught up in a battle much larger than he imagined.

Three books are planned for the series: The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Happy Hour in Hell, and Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Each will be somewhat shorter than Tad’s usual epic science fiction and fantasy fare, and although part of a series, each may be read as a stand-alone novel.

Let me just say, “Bobby Dollar” is an egregiously bad name, but I trust in Tad and am eagerly looking forward to reading The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Watch for my review and an interview with Tad Williams later this year.

THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON by Saladin AhmedIn a recent discussion on Goodreads, Saladin Ahmed, author of Throne of the Crescent Moon, gave a handful of juicy details about his upcoming projects, the two follow-up novels to his successful debut.

Ahmed is currently in the midst of writing the second volume of the trilogy, which has no title yet, and expects it to be ready for a mid-2013 release. He promises that the djenn, who are only briefly mentioned in Throne of the Crescent Moon, will play a more integral role in the second novel and also says that readers haven’t seen the last between the hilarious and painfully accurate teenage romance that started to blossom between Zamia and Raseed bas Raseed in the latter half of Throne of the Crescent Moon.

Most interesting, though, are his comments on the scope of the second and third volumes. He says:

The later books will explore a fair amount of the map included with THRONE. Specifically, Rughal-ba and the off-map ‘Warlands’ will become hugely important. [They] will move toward epic fantasy in scale and scope, even as they maintain a sword-and-sorcery flavor. The main conflict of Book III will be a classic epic fantasy ‘clash of the big ol’ armies’ which is also a kind of Crusades analogue.

Ahmed’s debut was praised for its throwback nature, embracing classic Sword & Socrcery stylings of Howard, Leiber and Moorcock, and the pacing and plot structure that generally goes alongside that type of storytelling. It will be interesting to see how Ahmed maintains that ‘sword-and-sorcery flavor’ while expanding the scope of the story to fall more in line with traditional Epic Fantasies. I’ll be curious to see how this affects the word count of the novels.

Fans of Ahmed’s short fiction will also be pleased to know that more characters from his old stories will appear in the future novels. Specifically we’ll see Layla bas Layla, a female dervish who first appeared (and went renegade) in “Judgement of Swords and Souls.” Ahmed concludes by dropping tantalizing hints of everyone’s favourite semi-fictional badasses, ninjas.

You can read my review of Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed.


You know, last night, when I stumbled across this cover, my first reactions was:


There aren’t enough sad faces in the world to express my dismay.

This morning, though, I looked at it again and thought:

I like the idea, and appreciate that it’s says ‘Urban Fantasy’ without the general cliches, but the execution is just weird. You know, it’s actually kina cool, except for the floating, super-imposed angel.

Regardless of which opinion is correct, I have high expectations that the book beyond the covers, The Dirty Streets of Heaven will be very good. Because, you know, it’s Tad Williams.