Customer Reviews for

The Thin Executioner

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Gruesome and Uncompromising

The book The Thin Executioner is not for the fainthearted. In it, we follow the journey of a young man named Jebel Rum. Jebel lives in a world shockingly different from our own, in a country where compassion and kindness are shameful signs of weakness. Where over all th...
The book The Thin Executioner is not for the fainthearted. In it, we follow the journey of a young man named Jebel Rum. Jebel lives in a world shockingly different from our own, in a country where compassion and kindness are shameful signs of weakness. Where over all things, cruelty and bloodshed is honored. Where only the ruling Lord of the city is higher in rank than the Executioner.
Jebel's father has been the Executioner for many years and he is about to retire. Jebel has always been thin and lanky, not like his well-muscled brothers, and knows that he won't have any chance of winning his father's post as he is. Vying for his father's station, he starts out on a quest to travel to the sacred mountain of the fire god, where he will offer a human sacrifice and hope he is granted invincibility.
This story is brutal and shocking in the way it presents human suffering. It is an unrestricted, abrasive, gruesome telling of an alien society and perspective. It was captivating, in a dark way. There is no goodhearted protagonist, no evil villain to fight against, and no understanding people to help along the way. It is harsh wakeup call from all the fluffy feel-good books with happy endings.
I wasn't sure how I felt about this book until I finished it. I was shell-shocked and almost offended at how brutally straightforward this book was. Now, having had time to think about it, I decided that I like how the author was unwilling to dilute the horrors of this book. Even so, I would never recommend this book to anyone younger than 15 years old.

posted by 901470 on September 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Mom wont let me get it

I have read some of the cirque du freak series highly recomend

posted by 15569873 on March 7, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    Gruesome and Uncompromising

    The book The Thin Executioner is not for the fainthearted. In it, we follow the journey of a young man named Jebel Rum. Jebel lives in a world shockingly different from our own, in a country where compassion and kindness are shameful signs of weakness. Where over all things, cruelty and bloodshed is honored. Where only the ruling Lord of the city is higher in rank than the Executioner.
    Jebel's father has been the Executioner for many years and he is about to retire. Jebel has always been thin and lanky, not like his well-muscled brothers, and knows that he won't have any chance of winning his father's post as he is. Vying for his father's station, he starts out on a quest to travel to the sacred mountain of the fire god, where he will offer a human sacrifice and hope he is granted invincibility.
    This story is brutal and shocking in the way it presents human suffering. It is an unrestricted, abrasive, gruesome telling of an alien society and perspective. It was captivating, in a dark way. There is no goodhearted protagonist, no evil villain to fight against, and no understanding people to help along the way. It is harsh wakeup call from all the fluffy feel-good books with happy endings.
    I wasn't sure how I felt about this book until I finished it. I was shell-shocked and almost offended at how brutally straightforward this book was. Now, having had time to think about it, I decided that I like how the author was unwilling to dilute the horrors of this book. Even so, I would never recommend this book to anyone younger than 15 years old.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2010

    A hard read, but a good one.

    Among the Um Aineh, being the son of the executioner is almost as good as being the son of the king. In a world of warriors where strength and honor are valued above all, even the youngest son of the executioner, Jebel Rum, can't get the respect he thinks he deserves with a tiny frame. He sets off on a quest to save his honor, a quest that will require him to travel the length of Makhras with a slave by his side, a slave he must sacrifice to Sabbah Eid. In return he'll be granted invincibility that will allow him to beat any man in competition or combat and gain the confidence and respect of his father and his people.

    The society in which Jebel has been raised is exceedingly violent. The executioner is an exalted member of society in the way that movie stars are exalted in ours. They are not only men who mete out "justice," but also the providers of entertainment. Anyone convicted of any crime is executed; there are no jails and little regard for human life. Slaves aren't even considered human. Slaves live in their own section of the city where the living conditions are very degraded, can be beaten without recourse, and can be sentenced to death at the wish of their owner for any reason or none at all. Tel Hesani volunteers to accompany Jebel on his quest, knowing he will be executed at the end of it, to free his wife and children from this existence.

    Once Jebel and Tel Hesani are on the road, Jebel depends on Tel Hesani's knowledge of the world and other people in it to survive, but still treats him with disdain. Because Jebel is eager to spend time with people like himself, meaning not slaves like Tel Hesani, they end up in quite a few compromising situations. The trials and tribulations add up quickly, much more quickly than the change of heart I was expecting from Jebel. Tel Hesani saves him time and time again, and yet he's still valued as slightly more than a piece of dirt by Jebel. Jebel's attitude is a lot to take. It isn't until Jebel and Tel Hesani are separated and Jebel gets to experience the life of a slave for himself that his ideas about slavery, human life, and Tel Hesani begin to change. When they're finally reunited, they continue on the quest, but Jebel (finally) seriously doubts whether he'll be able to kill Tel Hesani in the name of a god he's not sure is real in exchange for supernatural powers that may or may not exist.

    The Thin Executioner is a long book, and I think that a lot of the obstacles Jebel and Tel Hesani meet on their way to Sabbah Eid could have been cut out without risking important plot points or character development. Still, it can be a gripping story. I had a hard time being in Jebel's head for so much of the book when he was such a self-centered jerk, but the payout is worth it in the end.

    If LibraryThing is to be believed, Shan dedicated this book to the country of Jordan "which inspired much of this book's setting and plot, and whose landmarks provided the names of all the characters (with three exceptions) and places" (my ARC doesn't have the dedications page). Jebel also describes his crush as "a beautiful dark brown color" (2).* Based on this and a vague memory of a description of Jebel himself, I'm thinking Jebel and the rest of the Um Aineh aare middle eastern, making this a fantasy book featuring POC! A rare and wonderful thing!


    Book source: ARC provided by publisher via yalsa-bk.

    * All quotes and page numbers are taken from an ARC and

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Home Run

    I have read the Demonata series and the Cirque series and they were both fantastic. I love how they all tied together so well, and the gruesome Macabre that makes them all so famous. I was unsure about the book before I read it because it was not a series, which seems to be Shan's strong suit. I will admit, I was proven wrong. Even though this is definitely one of his longer books, he made it work. Jebel is a character that many people can empathize with.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for Teens Read Too

    Regardless of his size, Jebel Rum has always wanted to be the successor of his father as the executioner for his tribe, a profession that is somewhat honored and entertaining. It doesn't help when you have two older brothers who would be better fitted for the job. To make things worse, Jebel's dreams are quickly crushed when his own father does not see him as a contender. What is Jebel's solution to this problem? Find the god who will give him the power of invincibility, which will ultimately help him win the tournament against his brothers that will make him the executioner. Along with Jebel on his travels is the slave who decided to go with him, Tel Hesani, who must be sacrificed to the god in order to obtain a better life for his family. THE THIN EXECUTIONER is full of weird but somewhat relatable teen angst, a journey that not only will prove difficult for Jebel but also will allow him to grow stronger. It also includes an accomplice who becomes more than what people at that time would think of as an object. Jebel will soon discover that what lays outside his tribe is something worth experiencing. Away from the vampires and demons, Darren Shan crafts a unique and compelling story that will take readers into a whole new world they would never have imagined. Jebel is one of those characters that gives a bad impression in the beginning. Of course, his non-ethical, guiltless personality is not his fault, as such traits are actually embedded in the minds of those in his tribe. However, Jebel's growth throughout the novel to the very end allows readers to be as comfortable with him as they are with Tel Hesani, the more likeable character who most readers will automatically respect. Both characters will endure a difficult and at times deadly journey, and in the end Jebel, Tel Hesani, and even the reader will be rewarded with a conclusion that is unusual but all the more satisfying.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    When I first picked this book up I couldn't put this book down.I learned so much just from reading this book and I was never bored because the thin executioner is filled with action and adventure.One of the things this book teaches is treat everyone equally .This was important in the story because it helps Jebel mature into an adult further into the story.The main plot of this book is Jebel is trying to become the new executioner but he's a weakling so he sets out on a quest to obtain inhuman powers.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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