Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed Not bad but a bit too much on the Sword & Sorcery, pulpy side for my tastes. The setting, which was something of the selling point, doesn't really work, unfortunately. It starts off well and theres the occasional arresting image (I liked the man with the robe that is never clean) but doesn't ever build up to a really solid sense of place. The older characters work well and give the book a bit of weary self reflection, but the young'uns are just annoying. The plot has a nice kind of retro D&D sillyness on at times - fighting the palace guard! secret passages! - but mostly it doesn't add up to much and theres only so much of that kind of thing one can take before it gets dull.

Important stuff comes a bit out of nowhere and while the brisk pace was one of the books redeeming features, it might have been a bit too brisk - the political players could have stood to get a little more development and nuance. Finally, this just barely avoided my ideologically-annoying tag for it's reflections on violence - theres definitely an attempt to examine it's influence and the rightness of the heroes, but it never goes far enough, never actually takes the step of making the heroes in the slightest at wrong to the reader, and so the ultimate effect, for me at least, was that self doubt is something that just needs to be gotten over.