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- Publication Date : September 19, 2012
- File Size : 234 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 94 pages
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Publisher : Ridan Publishing (September 19, 2012)
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B009CVYQG2
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #18,289 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Do you even need to shave yet? Hmph. What trials has your mewling soul faced, O master dervish of six-and-ten-whole-years? O kisser of I-am-guessing-exactly-zero-girls?"
That's cute once, but it just kept happening. Ugh.
But I want to emphasize (read: be positive) that there were some interesting stories and interesting worlds:
* I think my favorite was "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela," which whole-hoggedly embraced its fairy tale weirdness.
* "Judgment of Swords and Souls" was a neat story of a female dervish and the collapse of her world...until it became clear the short story was just a teaser chapter for Ahmed's book, and had not even a remotely satisfying ending.
Besides clunky prose and dialogue, endings are where Ahmed regularly tripped up. He likes to pull endings out of nowhere in just a couple of paragraphs ("General Akmed's Revenge?" and the squandered "Iron Eyes and the Watered-Down World"). The most disappointing of them all was "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted." Started great, until I realized it was a sci-fi retelling of The Alchemist. If Ahmed's intention was to write a pitch-perfect version of that old yarn, then to his credit he really succeeded! Problem is that I hate The Alchemist.
At the end of the day, I don't think I really have the energy to be too mad about a collection that was 100% free. I'm just mad that no editor reined in Ahmed's worst instincts that managed to choke the life out his own worlds.
Also, in some of the stories, there is this prevalent theme of a pseudo-Islamic reality—characters like “Adoulla,” a name that sounds almost like “Abdullah” for it to be “almost” Muslim but not quite. Some names of places, too, and references to shaykhs and lodges/orders bring about an Islamic feel without responsibly representing actual Islam or Muslims. There are places where the characters (who are called “shaykhs” or are their students) quote ”scripture” and it sounds like it could be Islamic, but it’s not. And then there are also ill-fitting phrases from these pseudo-Muslim characters, like “child of God” or references to marriage customs that are completely contradictory to what the Islamic tradition holds.
It’s like the author doesn’t want to take responsibility for discussing Islam or Muslims as they are so he made up a fake religion to talk about as he pleases—a weak attempt at absolving responsibility I feel. If one is to try to represent Islam/Muslims I feel they should be upfront about doing so and shoulder the responsibility that comes with it.
Top reviews from other countries
The author’s breadth of voice across all eight stories is impressive. Each story introduced me to a very different narrator and their unique point of view. That’s great writing!
My favourite story in this collection is Where Virtue Lives, in which we meet again (if you’ve already read Throne of the Crescent Moon) Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the best ghul hunter in Dhamsawaat. While the story is about Makhslood searching for a newlywed abducted by a water ghul, it also tells of how the gul hunter met the Dervish, Raseed bas Raseed. All the other stories come a close second.
If you like your fantasy and sci-fi with a Middle Eastern flavour, I’d give this short story collection a go.
The main event for me was 'Where Virtue Lies' as it is an introduction to characters in the Throne of the Crescent Moon novel, the characters are fantastic in the fact that they have their flaws but you can't help but love and root for them.
The range of the types of short stories was impressive and shows how talented a writer Saladin Ahmed is. The Arabic culture weaved into each story is very enjoyable and includes mythical creatures that are not widely used such as Ghuls.
Saladin Ahmed isn't afraid to make the reader feel something, every one of the stories awakes an emotion in the reader.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, just anyone!
Action adventure humour love menace suspense these stories have all that and more, imaginative well written, all with engaging well drawn characters. Each story in this fantasy collection grabs from the first line, and I heartily recommend this book.
Saladin Ahmed's writing style is clear, invocative and brings the Arabian flavour of the mythologies and characters in these stories to life. Heartily recommended.