Katie Montgomery's Reviews > Alif the Unseen

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
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's review
Jul 23, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 12 to 23, 2012

Dudes. DUDES. Go read this book.

When I address the dudes, that's not just the Jersey accent talking. I am specifically referring to the unwashed, World-of-Warcraft-playing, top-secret-code-writing, cheeto-eating, TAB-drinking computer scientists who, at some point in the last ten years, have somehow outstripped the rest of us in relevancy and successfulness from the saggy cushions of their second-hand basement couches. I mean, the rest of you can read it too, and you will love it too. But it's not FOR you.

This book is NOT, as many have argued, a Harry Potter for a digital age. It's not juvenile, although it is one of the most accurate portrayals of a young male character I've seen in a long time. It's not campy, although it has the sly sense of humor to rival any djinn. It has magic, true, but also Religion, and in spite of its best efforts, it's not escapist.

Alif the Unseen is an unabashed love letter from the orthodox middle-east to its hackers. Sometimes it's tough love, sometimes it's poetry, sometimes it's gentle parody, but from start to finish I couldn't shake the feeling the Wilson was crushing on the l33t-speaking, firewall-building-and-destroying, thin-skinned but courageous knights of justice who sit down at their desks everyday and say, "Today is not the day that I succumb to fear." And who wouldn't? Let's face it, ladies -- badasses are sexy even when they're covered in cheeto powder. ESPECIALLY when they're covered in cheeto powder.

I'll say it again -- dudes. You know who you are. Go read this book. Wilson wrote it for you.
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