Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon

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Throne of the Crescent Moon

★★★★☆

2012 • 288 pages • DAW Books

Where is the God in fantasy?

There are speculative fiction novels that deal with faith and spirituality—while I haven’t read it yet, I am told that Mary Russell’s The Sparrow touches on it. But I don’t mean faith and spirituality as a core theme of a text; I mean faith and spirituality as both worldbuilding and character building. In my experience, fantasy worldbuilding is often predicated on the existence of gods or goddesses. There is no question that the gods exist. Their decisions make be questioned or influenced or what have you, but they made the world, they exist, and that is that. Depictions of faith and religious practice tends to be dramatically diverse—the dwarves worship their god, and the elves theirs—

It’s something I’ve never really thought about. My only religious training as a kid was pointedly not being actively Catholic with no viable option presented, so religion as a whole was never on my radar. (My mother once panicked before a family funeral and tried to make me learn the Lord’s Prayer. I was what, eighteen? Nineteen? It did not take.) Since organized religion has never played a role in my life, I’ve never wondered what kind of role it can play in secondary worldbuilding.

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The Literary Horizon: Under Heaven, Throne of the Crescent Moon

Fantasy, as a genre, is noted for how homogenous it can be—medieval European setting (adjusting for British or Continental tastes accordingly), wizards, royalty, and, of course, white people. But there are two titles on my reading list that fight this by injecting some much needed diversity into the genre. (And, for the first time in a while, an actually recent release!)

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