The moment I saw this book on the shelf in the bookshop I did an impression of Gollum - "Myyyyyyyyyy precioussssssssss." I didn't even read the book description. I just saw a name - Darren Shan. That was enough information for me! I got home and immediately began to wolf the book down.
'The Thin Executioner' does not conform to the traditional Darren Shan books that we have come to expect, normally he has people's guts being ripped out or people being dragged to hell by their legs. That said, he does linger over the beheadings with plenty of his trademark gore.
This book is a stand-alone novel dealing with themes of inequality, coming of age, religious beliefs, morality, capital punishment and slavery.
The story is one of a quest for invincibility that only a God who resides in a mountain far away can grant. In order to become the new executioner for the Wadi, Jebel Rum must embark on the quest and become invincible. The journey is long and dangerous and requires the sacrifice of Jebel's slave, Tel Hasani, once they reach the mountain.
Jebel Rum, although the main character, is not at all likable. He is arrogant, ignorant, annoying and totally up his own ass. However, he is merely a reflection of the society he has been brought up in and he genuinely doesn't see anything wrong with the way he behaves and the beliefs he fiercely holds on to.
If you are hoping for another Darren Shan Horror Fest, you won't find much blood and guts here. Nevertheless 'The Thin Executioner' is certainly up there with the best of Darren Shan's books.
Would I recommend reading this book? Hell, yes!