Alif the Unseen


The first book I read in 2014, or more accurately, finished in 2014—was G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen—and I SO hope the rest of the books I read this year are like it.  Alif is unlike anything I’ve read before—fresh and exciting, a combination of fantasy, Sufi poetry, politics, technology, action, romance, Muslim theology and more.  Drawing on images from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and weaving them into an Arab spring spy thriller that straddled the worlds of Arab elite and poor, Muslim and Hindu, human and jinn, high and low technology, the book takes on questions of faith, revolution, expectations, and reality.   What a way to start a new year!