Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1)Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saladin Ahmed is considered by many in the science fiction and fantasy community to be an up and coming new author. He’s been a finalist for the Nebula and the Campbell award. His highly anticipated debut novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, came with high expectations in 2012. The books primary protagonist is Doctor Adoulla Makhslood , last of the ghul hunters. After spending a lifetime fighting undead monsters and evil sorcerers, Adoulla wants nothing more than to spend his remaining years drinking tea in comfort. But, when the relative of his former lover calls on him for help, he finds himself drawn into what may be the greatest threat to the crescent kingdoms.

Assisting Adoulla is Raseed bas Raseed, a young holy warrior. While Raseed is sworn to aid Adoulla, the rigid moral code of his order often makes him uncomfortable with the gray areas that Adoulla’s work often takes them into. Complicating matters further is Zamia Badawi, the last of her tribe. Gifted with the power to shapeshift into the form of a lion, Zamia is determined to avenge the death of her people. Adoulla must contend with dark prophecies, undead monsters, political corruption, and the growing romantic feelings between the stiff-necked Raseed and the wild Zamia.

Throne of the Crescent moon is an epic sword and sorcery tale steeped in the culture of the Arabian Nights. Ahmed is clearly drawing on his own cultural background, but he presents the novel in a way that won’t alienate western readers. The characters are interesting and flawed. They struggle with their own conflicts, both external and internal, but at the same time, draw the reader in and make them want to see the characters succeed.

This is an excellent first novel from a talent that I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from in the future. Throne of the Crescent Moon takes place in a rich world with plenty of potential for sequels, whether with the further adventures of Adoulla or with other characters.

Highly recommended.

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Is Body Armor for Kids on Your Christmas Shopping List?

This is why I am truly an alien to this world.

I just just don’t how people sometimes think. The tragic shooting at the Newtown, CT school really breaks my heart. Twenty children and seven adults killed by a deranged man with a semi-automatic weapon. The natural reaction for people is shock and horror, followed by questions. How did this happen? Why did he do it?

And most importantly, how can prevent something like this from happening again? Some people, are saying we need better gun laws to keep these weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Others, suggest better mental health services might have prevented this tragedy. Still others, like Texas Congressman and village idiot Louis Gohmert, thinks giving teachers M-4s is the solution.

Then there’s Megan McArdle, who wrote on The Daily Beast:

I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.  Would it work?  Would people do it?  I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

Yes, she actually suggested that this shooting could have been stopped if a classroom full of 5-6 years olds gang rushed an adult man with a semi-automatic weapon. Even if a few kindergarten students didn’t panic, how could they disarm him. According to reports, the school’s principal, did try to rush the gunman and paid for it with her life.

And that’s not even the dumbest suggestion I’ve seen. That prize goes to Charlotte Brown at the National Review, who blamed the shooting on the fact that there weren’t enough men at the school. Maybe she’s seen too many 80s action movies, but in reality, men aren’t any more bullet proof than women.

Which brings to this story on Fox:

Child-sized body armor and bullet-proof backpacks are flying off the shelves.

So, the takeaway from this is: Let’s not try to prevent such tragedies. The National Review even suggested that such massacres are just the price we pay for the Second Amendment. Instead of trying to find some solution so that madmen aren’t charging into schools, movie theaters, or shopping malls and opening fire on children, let’s just put our kids in body armor and teach them how to pull down a 200-lb man while being shot at.

Because anything else isn’t freedom. Or something.

Chris Wallace on the Passing of His Dog

I’m not a huge fan of Chris Wallace, but this touching tribute was something I felt needed to be shared.

We had to put our Bichon. Rosie, down three years ago. She was thirteen. She had a long history of epilepsy and one day, she had the final seizure and never fully recovered. Her brain was damaged and she could no longer eat or walk. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I ever had to do, even though it was clearly the merciful and loving thing to do.

The other day, one of the guys who works at my gym brought his dog to work: A chocolate-colored pit bull named Reggie. Everyone knows that breed has a reputation for aggressiveness, but Reggie had one of the sweetest dispositions I’ve ever seen. After I pet him for a few minutes, he ran behind the desk and then returned with his rope toy, obviously wanting me to play with him.

Reggie was a rescue dog. His owner told me they found him tied to a stop sign downtown. He’d been tied there for a while and was emaciated from hunger. Fortunately, Reggie had been adopted by someone who nursed him back to health. It break my heart to see this dog from a so-called “dangerous breed” who had been so cruelly abandoned and instead of lashing out, all he wanted to do was play tug-of-war with me.

Cats tolerate us. Horses obey us. All other domesticated animals are at best, indifferent towards us. But dogs are the only animal that we’ve successfully bred to love us. Even when we don’t deserve it.

The 7 Most Ridiculous Things About Calling Out Fake Fangirls |

The 7 Most Ridiculous Things About Calling Out Fake Fangirls |

I’m going to geek out a little here. Apparently, it’s now a thing for con goers to complain that women who engage in cosplay* are “fake geek girls”. Comic artist Tony Harris even went on an extended rant on Facebook about it:

“… according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls …”

“… if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face.”
So, Harris’ biggest argument that these women aren’t real geeks is because they are too good looking? That’s not only insane, that’s insulting.

This is Tony Harris. Obviously, he’s a good judge of who is good looking.

Seriously? People like Harris actually want to chase women out of geekdom because they are too attractive? He thinks this is a bad thing?

Harris continues on his rant, complaining that cosplayers are just there to tease men they would never talk to outside of a con and that they don’t actually know anything about comics. How he knows that cosplayers don’t know anything about the characters they dress up as is a mystery. Has he taken a poll?Setting aside the idiocy of him knowing about these (or any) women think or know, do we really want to start judging who is a “true geek”? I love science fiction and fantasy. I still enjoy comics. On the other hand, I’m not a video gamer. I don’t even own an Xbox or a Wii or any other game console? Does that mean I’m not a true geek?

Geeks have enough issues being judged without starting to judge each other.

If this keeps up, we’ll soon be confused with the republicans.

*Dressing up in costumes of comic book characters like Wonder Woman or Power Girl.