a book review: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenAlif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

i came to know about this book after seeing it on the front page of the Book Depository online store. as usual, it was the title that intrigued me. that, and the fact that some critics compare this book to Harry Potter. πŸ˜‰

upon reading it, i was not disappointed. it really did remind me of Harry Potter, with a lot more of computer/techy things. i enjoyed the main story, and reading this didn’t take a long time for me since it was quite fast paced.

however i couldn’t help feeling that some things are left unexplained (possibly purposely?) or very shortly introduced and then never described deeper. i was lucky enough to be brought up in a superstitious environment where djinns (and their world) are not completely foreign. if i wasn’t though, i don’t know if i would actually understand the story in the book. also since everything was crammed into one book, yet the story is somewhat long and complex, i feel like i haven’t gotten the chance to properly know the characters yet (the main and the supporting ones, Vikram, Azalel, etc.) to actually feel any sympathy to whatever happens to them.

for the ending, particularly the romance part, i must say it was predictable. πŸ˜€ not that i mind, but just that it was unsurprising. from the fantasy/techy part, i must say i don’t really grasp the whole idea or how it works, except that it does work and i guess i’ll just have to accept that fact. so it was a tiny bit disappointing, as i like to understand things 100%, but since it is a fantasy book after all, let’s just say anything is possible.

i was going to leave this review at this, but i couldn’t help adding one more thing. i read a few other reviews of this book before i wrote mine, and was a bit surprised to see how some people seem to not get a clear picture of what’s going on in the book at all. somebody thought the setting of this story is in India (which is wrong, it’s set in an unnamed emirate). another one wondered why the prison guards didn’t bother to catch our hero(es) in the desert (the answer: because, as it is written in the novel, during the car chase sequence, our hero(es) went over a very high dune and after the dune it was all bare desert that the prison guards would much rather leave them to die out there than to try to catch them and bring them back). it made me realize that perhaps the way the story is written is sometimes unclear to people.

or perhaps, just like the Alf Yeom, the book always look different to different people. hmm. πŸ˜‰

anyway, i highly recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy stories. the main story is interesting, new (= techy) yet traditional (= religions/myths/beliefs & djinn world), and if you read it without any expectations, you’ll find it to be a very entertaining book. πŸ™‚ now i would love to find out if the Alf Yeom book is real or not.

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2 thoughts on “a book review: Alif the Unseen

  1. Now you’re making me curious to read this book, hahaha….. I think it’s true that each person reads according to his/her personal perspective/mindset and “filter”, so everyone has different understanding of the story.

    • well, you should read it! πŸ˜€ and then tell me what you think about it (and we can discuss it like how we discussed Life of Pi, heheh!)

      versi paperback-nya di book depo ga gitu mahal kok… klo ga nemu di toko buku lokal sana cobalah pesan di book depo. πŸ™‚

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