Book Shorts: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenTitle:  Alif the Unseen
Author:  G. Willow Wilson

Summary:  Alif, a half-Indian, half-Arab hacker living in a generic Islamic military country, is forced to flee his home after his aristocratic ex-lover gives him a mystical book supposedly written by inhuman hands. He and his childhood friend have to hide from the government’s omnipotent Internet security program, and end up being aided by an enigmatic jinn, an American scholar, a holy man, and a famous hacker prince.

I started reading it because…  Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so it caught my eye.

I kept reading because… I liked the Internet culture setting and the realistic personality of the main character. I enjoyed the analysis of the hacking community’s response to events such as the Egyptian revolution and the detention and persecution of fellow hackers.

If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, they would…  freak out about having no Internet while trying in vain for cell phone reception.

Six Word Review:  Hacker, jinn oppose government with book.

This book reminded me of Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher because they both wove magic and harsh reality together in a middle eastern setting.

Websites of interest:  Alif the Unseen

— review by Lexie, West Seattle teen volunteer WTS

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