Wow, a strong, beautiful, disturbing debut novel! Wonderful storytelling and characterization! The plot itself is straightforward – aging ghul hunter and young swordsman, along with allies, fight against the biggest, baddest ghul of ghuls who threatens to destroy their way of life, and perhaps the world.
However, don’t let that fool you. Ahmed’s characters are compelling and vividly drawn as they struggle with both internal and external conflicts. I cared deeply about them. In fact, I finished this within 36 hours of starting because I couldn’t put it down, needing to know not only what would happen within the framework of the main story, but also how the characters resolved their own internal demons.
Ahmed’s world is also rich with colors, smells, sounds, with the beautiful and the seedy, the innocent and the terrifying. Highly recommended.