|Throne of the Crescent Moon|
It begins with a call for help from the love of Adoulla's life. Then it escalates when Adoulla and Raseed find the sole survivor of a desert tribe looking for revenge. It eventually turns out to be a terrible plot to gain the Khalif's throne. Along the way, there's magic and alkhemists and shapechangers and corruption and virtue and heroism.
The plot of Throne of the Crescent Moon is simple enough to explain, but what made this book such an interesting read for me was the richly described world Ahmed creates. Unlike most fantasy novels, which are grounded firmly in medieval European-like settings, Throne of the Crescent Moon is distinctly influenced by Islam and the Middle East. God has a thousand names and business is only discussed after lots of pleasantries. Not only does Ahmed use this inspiration to create a refreshingly different setting, he uses it to give his characters (especially) Raseed a lot of room to grow as characters. This is an action novel, but it's got some soul, too.