Target: Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon(Crescent Moon Kingdoms #1)
I don’t understand io9.com’s criterion for good fantasy. Between their three-year-long campaign for the mediocre novels of N. K. Jemisin and their unceasing steampunk fetish, it’s gotten hard to take their recommendations seriously. Yes, they still put up the odd Alistair Reynolds or Ken MacLeod, but I suspect that’s just to keep us coming back. And then they put Throne of the Crescent Moon on their ‘Best of 2012’ list. Now, any long-time readers will know that I am pretty skeptical of any recommendation, so why would this one be noteworthy? I don’t have a good answer, but it really bugs me that a list that includes the phenomenal The Long Earth and the well-received Red Shirts could also include this slug of a novel.
When I say slug, I’m referring to pacing. Throne of the Crescent Moon has everything needed to be a standout fantasy book, but the story is so bogged down with descriptive text that the action feels like molasses. Don’t even ask about the exposition. It is actually quite sad, as the setting has a lot going for it. The characters are pretty interesting, if oddly gifted with near-perfect empathy, and the plot isn’t the completely boring re-tread it easily could have been.