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Review: THE THIN EXECUTIONER by Darren Shan

Posted by on December 25, 2010
The Thin Executioner 
THE THIN EXECUTIONER
Darren Shan
496 pages
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: August 1st, 2010
Source: ARC from Library
Rating: LIKED

In a kingdom of merciless tyrants, Jebel Rum’s family is honored as royalty because his father is the executioner. But Rashed Rum is near retirement. And when he goes, there will be a contest to determine his successor. It is a contest that thin, puny Jebel has no chance of winning. Humiliated and ashamed, Jebel sets out on a quest to the faraway home of a legendary fire god to beg for inhuman powers so that he can become the most lethal of men. He must take with him a slave, named Tel Hesani, to be sacrificed to the god. It will be a dark and brutal journey filled with lynch mobs, suicide cults, terrible monsters, and worse, monstrous men. But to Jebel, the risk is worth it. To retrieve his honor . . . To wield unimaginable power . . . To become . . . The thin executioner.

Inspired by the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, international bestselling master of horror Darren Shan takes readers on a thrilling, fast-paced journey into a nightmarish world where compassion and kindness are the greatest crimes of all.

The Thin Executioner has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. I decided to pick it up since I haven’t seen many reviews of it. And just as the summary says, this story really was a lot like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I liked it, but not all of it.

Jebel Rum is the runt of his family. His father, the greatest executioner in Wadi, is about to retire and is placing his two older sons in a battle to determine the new executioner. Jebel is disgraced, his father gave a speech to everyone in Wadi, and Jebel’s name wasn’t even mentioned. To earn back his honor and clear his name, Jebel sets out to quest for Tubaygat, where he will petition a god, sacrifice a slave, and be granted invincibility.

I hated Jebel Rum from the start. He was so full of himself and had no respect for his slave. It’s not entirely his fault, since he was taught that slaves can never be equals. But as Jebel and Tel Hesani (his humble and caring slave) travel the treacherous eight-ten month journey, Jebel starts to think of Tel Hesani… as a friend. Jebel changes a lot – for the better. I started to like him as he realized his teachings and harsh upbringings were wrong.

Up until about 400 or so pages, I was almost certain I would give The Thin Executioner two or three stars. There was too much blood and gore. I usually like those types of books, but this one was so extreme, in certain places I felt like puking. But the story has a beautiful ending, one that nearly brought me to tears, one that I didn’t know the famed blood and gore author Darren Shan was capable of. Overall, you’re in for a story that can sometimes be predictable, but will definitely leave you smiling.

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6 comments

  1. I like the cover, because it's so striking–but I don't think I could read this book. I'm not really one for horror, and if it's super gory I know I'd get freaked out. Good review; I like stories that surprise me with an excellent ending. A lot of times they change the way I regard the entire book. Everything that came before can take on new meaning.

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