Swirling sand, lines of code… Alif’s work as a hacker is firmly anchored in the present but as he struggles to avoid State surveillance in the digital domain, his future may be decided by the mythology and beliefs of the past.

“I suppose every innovation started out as a fantasy.”

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Alif the Unseen deftly weaves the reality of the digital world and hacktivist culture with the rich overtones of middle eastern mythology.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Hackers and jinn, it’s almost too good to be true.

In addition to writing novels, G. Willow Wilson is also very well-known in the comic book world (the new Ms. Marvel debuted this year!)

Rating (5 stars)

It is so difficult to write a review for such an unusual book. This story swept me into an adventure of hacking and magic while almost subconsciously challenging unknowingly-held prejudices.

Beautifully written, Alif the Unseen  is unique.  Sure, sometimes it reads like a modern cyberthriller and other times  the influence of One Thousand and One Nights shines through. Despite mixing elements from all over, the story is remarkably cohesive.

Filled with magical realism, I’m left confused as to whether I should classify it as science fiction or fantasy. What I do know is that it was a five-star story with adventure, romance, and enough substance to keep me thinking long after the last page.