A great version of AD&D minus the elves, dwarves and other high fantasy elements, mixed in with weird fantasy monsters and elements. I ordered both the PDF and the print version from the author's site, so I'll comment mostly on the print version.
This is a beautiful book, well-organised, written and edited. I know art is subjective but some of the artwork is great, some of it not so (in particular the black and white water ink pieces IMO). You can feel that a lot of love and passion went into making this book.
Talanian has his own preferred vocab, such as 'betwixt' in place of 'between'. I have mixed feelings about this, but at least it gives the book a unique tone. On the whole the book is clearly written and conveys the information in a well-organised and easy to understand way.
This book provides a new, cleaned up version of AD&D. For gamers who play these older versions, there actually won't be that much new or unfamilliar in here aside from the setting, some spells, some new classes and some tweaks with the basic mechanics. This game is a homebrew, high fantasy-free version of AD&D. If you have always hated elves and dwarves etc this will be right up you alley.
Talanian has attempted to make a weird-fantasy and sword & sorcery inspired version of AD&D. This is where I think this game doesn't really hit the mark. Firstly, aside from a few new spells, the magic system is just an AD&D magic system. This just doesn't carry the feel of sword & sorcery for me. Magic should be a dangerous, corrupting force in the sword & sorcery genre. And just referring to all spell casters consistently as 'sorcerers' in the text doesn't make it feel that way either. The same goes for the magic items, they are on the whole standard D&D magic items; there should be something dangerous and corrupting about them in a S&S setting, but there isn't. The loot, hoard and run around with an arsenal of magic items AD&D sort of game just doesn't really fit the S&S genre. The addition of Lovecraftian monsters doesn't really carry the 'weird fantasy' thing either when they just appear along beside the standard D&D monsters.
And this is where comparisons need to be made with Crypts & Things, the other D&D inspired OSR game that aims to do S&S. Crypts & Things just gets the grittyness of S&S better than AS&SH. This is due to the combination of the more simplified OD&D inspired rules, but also the dangerous, corrupting way magic and magic items work in that system (although not perfect either IMO). C&T's monsters are almost all new, but somehow feel closer to capturing the danger and horror of S&S than the AS&SH's use of already familiar Lovecraftian monsters. C&T's class system, with its mechanics of choosing a class then specialising via skill choices within the class rather than tons of different sub-classes feels more free-form and S&S in style too.
If you want to play an S&S style version of D&D choose C&T. If you want to play a clean version of AD&D stripped of its high fantasy elements, play AS&SH. Tired of dwaves and elves? Want a cool, humano-centric setting with heaps of class options and Lovecraftian monsters? Then this game will be right up our alley.
This is a great product, one I recommend to all lovers of OSR systems. 4 out of 5 stars.