A review by tien
Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson


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