Jonathan Strahan's Reviews > Alif the Unseen

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
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's review
Dec 04, 2013

really liked it
Read from August 13 to 17, 2012 — I own a copy

One of the most interesting and rewarding books I've read in 2012, G. Willow Wilson's debut novel Alif the Unseen is ostensibly a contemporary young adult fantasy novel about a dissident computer hacker set in an unspecified Arabic country at a time of rising civil unrest. The book has a lot to recommend it - engaging characters, a fast-paced narrative and so on - but what makes it most interesting is the way it interrogates the boundaries between science fiction and fantasy, between secular and religious worldviews, and about the role of women in traditional societies. That a book focussed on dissent and revolution is so respectful of traditional religious perspectives is a significant strength of the book. Highly recommended.

Note: Check out this review of the book by James Bradley (
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