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Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson Review

Title: Alif the Unseen

Author: G. Willow Wilson

First published June 19, 2012

433 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780802120205 (ISBN10: 0802120202)

Rating: 3.84


In the midst of a Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker known as Alif has made it his mission to protect his clients from the watchful eye of the government. But when his secret lover leaves him for a prince, and his own computer is hacked by the state’s electronic security force, Alif finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

To make matters worse, his lover’s fiancĂ© is none other than the “Hand of God,” the head of state security. With his life in danger, Alif goes underground and discovers a mysterious book called the “Book of the Unseen.” With both the Hand and Alif vying for control of this powerful artifact, the stakes are higher than ever before.

As Alif struggles for his life, he must navigate unseen forces and impossible choices. Will he be able to keep himself and his clients safe, or will he be consumed by the darkness of this dangerous world?

Find out in G. Willow Wilson’s gripping novel, Alif the Unseen.

About the Author

Meet Hugo, an accomplished author who has won prestigious literary awards such as the World Fantasy and American Book Award for his exceptional work in both novels and comics. Some of his notable works include “The Bird King,” “Invisible Kingdom,” and “Alif the Unseen.” Hugo is also one of the co-creators of the highly popular Ms. Marvel series.

In recognition of his remarkable contributions to the literary world, Rutgers University has conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in letters.

Aside from his impressive achievements, Hugo has a fun and quirky side. During quarantine, he accidentally started a cult of Dutch baby bakers.

Although he may not be very active on this platform at the moment, you can often find him sharing updates and insights on his Twitter account.

Editoral Review

G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen is an electrifying blend of fantasy, technology, and religion.

The book was first published on June 19, 2012, and has received widespread critical acclaim for its unique premise, dynamic characters, and evocative writing. Wilson is an American writer and blogger who has authored several graphic novels and a memoir before writing Alif the Unseen.

Her work often explores the intersection of politics, religion, and culture, especially as it pertains to the Middle East, where she lived for a few years. Alif the Unseen is a genre-bending novel that melds the conventions of urban fantasy and cyberpunk with the rich history of Islamic mythology and mysticism.

The story takes place in an unnamed Arab emirate that is rapidly modernizing thanks to the influx of technology from the West. The protagonist, Alif, is a young hacker who lives on the fringes of society, creating secure software for people who want to stay anonymous online.

Alif’s world is turned upside down when he discovers an ancient book of magic that allows him to bypass firewalls and encryption. He also befriends a veiled woman named Dina, who may hold the key to unlocking the book’s secrets.

As Alif and Dina delve deeper into the book’s mysteries, they uncover a malevolent force that threatens to destroy not just their world, but the whole of reality. The novel has a diverse cast of characters, including jinn, angels, hackers, and government agents.

Alif is a relatable protagonist who is torn between his love for Dina and his duty to protect her. Dina, too, is a fascinating character who is both vulnerable and resilient.

Wilson’s prose is lush and descriptive, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and smells of the emirate. She also weaves in themes of identity, faith, and freedom of expression, drawing parallels between Alif’s struggle for self-determination and the Arab Spring that was unfolding at the time of the novel’s publication.

However, the novel’s pacing can be uneven at times. The combination of fantasy and technology can also be jarring for some readers who may not be familiar with Islamic mythology.

All in all, Alif the Unseen is an absorbing read that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, and Philip Pullman. Wilson has created a richly imagined world that is both timeless and contemporary, and her exploration of the intersection of religion, politics, and technology is both thought-provoking and relevant.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy genre-bending fiction and are looking for new voices in contemporary fantasy.