Sunday, January 22, 2012

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Alif the UnseenAlif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alif is the handle for a teenage hacker living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, one where the flow of information is controlled and monitored by the state. He has made a name for himself (not his actual name, obviously) by helping various groups subvert the system at various times. He becomes an unknowing rival to someone known as The Hand, and as he tries to escape he ends up in a world where jinns exist.

This novel is an entertaining read combining hackers with partially unseen beings, legends with protest, and manages to still present the complexities of this region of the world very realistically - Alif is only half Arab, for instance, and his skin tone alone creates problems in some situations. It was written before the "Arab spring" and will come out in July 2012, so it manages to turn into a very believable world. I might start looking for the Unseen Alley in my own city.

I'd recommended this for fans of YA hacker novels (Ready Player One or Little Brother) in particular, and also readers interested in learning more about the complexities of the Arab world.


  1. Ooh, this sounds like a really cool book. The Arab setting + hacker theme really intrigues me. Thanks for the review!

  2. This isn't normally the type of book that appeals to me. (Neither was The Night Circus and I loved that to bits so...) I keep hearing good things and I think I might give it a whirl.


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