I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of times I have sat down and tried to write or film a review for this book. Each time I attempt it I miss out a million things I want to say so I’m just going to apologise upfront for the horrid, horrid mess this review is likely to be and just try and get all my thoughts down on the page because it’s been bugging me.
At first I found the book a bit hard to get into. I can’t seem to pinpoint the reason why I didn’t take to the book at first but I just didn’t. However once I got past the first few chapters of the book I started to get hooked.
The characters in the book were very interesting to read. The protagonist, Jebel Rum, starts off at the beginning of the novel as an incredibly arrogant, naïve, ignorant and just generally dislikeable person. However over the course of the story he begins to change and his character matures from the little brat to a much kinder, more tolerant person. Traits that, in part, come from his slave Tel Hesani. Tel Hesani starts of the story as almost the exact opposite of Jebel. Tel Hesani is kind, tolerant, respectful and highly moral man. His journey through the course of the novel is almost more interesting to me than Jebels. Where Jebel begins to adopt some of Tel Hesani’s characteristics, Tel Hesani does the same with Jebels. Tel Hesani becomes more hardened and less forgiving.
The other characters worth mentioning are Master Bush and Master Blair. They are the “bad guys” of the story. They are not your typical evil villians. When we first meet them they appear to be friendly to Jebel although there is a sense that they’re not the best characters. When Jebel and Tel Hesani next meet them they sell Tel Hesani and enslave Jebel. Jebel is then forced to rob graves for them. The things Jebel goes through during this part of his journey are really defining moments for him. Up until this point he has thought slaves to be inhuman and not worthy of his respect, this experience shows him how little he knows about the world and how what he has been taught by his elders is not entirely true.
I also love the fact that Master Bush and Master Blair are named after George W. Bush and Tony Blair, something that really didn’t register when I was reading the novel. When I read this was where the names had come from I laughed for about 5 minutes.
This is now one of my top five favourite books. I thought it was just a brilliantly well told story which manages to stay fast-paced and exciting whilst looking at slavery, religion and how we should question things and not necessarily accept everything we are taught (and of course there are plenty of those classic Darren Shan plot twists ;P).
I give Darren Shan’s “The Thin Executioner”, 4.5/5. It really did blow me away and was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it. Seriously. Go do it now. Go! NOW!