Review: Alif the Unseen

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

The beginning of the book, Chapter Zero, was set in a fascinating long ago time of Persia. The encounter between man and Djinn brought about of The Thousand and One Days into the world of men. From ancient Persia, the setting shifts to current days where Alif, a young man of Arab-Indian descent, is making his living from covering his clients’ sites from the authorities.

At first, I really wasn’t sure whether I like Alif –not the usual hero type, I thought. There were quite a number of frustrating times that I felt like screaming, c’mon, get your act together. However, in the end, he is definitely the type of hero needed in this book once you get to know what you’re fighting against. James Bond cannot win all kinds of battles.

The techie talks just went over my head and it doesn’t affect my understanding of plot much, most times, I ignore it. One part I really enjoyed though was the stories from the secret book. It kinda felt like reading The Thousand and One Nights somewhat with its morals etc. I also really liked Dina – a devout Moslem girl-next-door to Alif. She was unexpectedly strong and courageous. I loved the fast pace of the story and I could barely put it down as something’s bound to happen on the next page.

I reckon if you like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code or any of his books, you may enjoy this similar work of interlacing modern technology with myths and the supernatural world.

Thank you Allen & Unwin and The Reading Room for providing copy to read & review

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7 thoughts on “Review: Alif the Unseen

  1. KateB

    I have to admit I felt a little lost whilst reading this book… you should see all the notes I made to try and figure it all out but like you – I really enjoyed the book of The Thousand and One Nights.

    1. Tien Post author

      ohmygosh, I would not try to figure out all the techie stuff! I can use okay but don’t ask me the nitty gritty, lol

    1. Tien Post author

      oh, you’re welcome, Mike. I guess you liked Da Vinci Code, huh?

      I was trying to think of something of a similar line and I thought Da Vinci Code was the closest (albeit with a Middle Eastern- Non Christian twist) though there are quite a lot of differences too. But, if Da Vinci Code is your cuppa tea, I’m pretty confident you’d enjoy Alif too. And I hope you do! Let me know if I’m wrong ;p


  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    I enjoyed the combination of tech and fantasy in the book – quite unique!


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