My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Er, I finished this 400-page book in two sittings. That’s either an exemplary review on its own, or a gloriously egotistical comment on my reading prowess.
Let’s go with the former, because to be honest, I’ve been in a bit of reading slump since Outlander. I’ve still read a lot, sure, but I wanted the sort of book that would grab me, throw me in, and not let me go until I was finished with it (or perhaps, until it was finished with me.) Alif the Unseen was for me all of that—it cured my slump, and reminded me how powerful books can be when the right one comes along.
It has that dreamy atmospheric tone that I’ve only seen Neil Gaiman and Helene Wecker evoke so far. To say it is gorgeously written is a severe understatement.
Myth and story and language all play a large part in a meta sort of way, which tickles all my buttons. There’s a bit of romance too, especially at the beginning, and though some in the Sword & Laser group didn’t care for this, it actually strengthened the character and my bond to him.
I also like the personification of coding and how it was treated in a mystical hand-waving sort of way. It was exactly what this story needed, so don’t look here for detailed, hard programming like Ramez Naam’s Nexus.
Overall, this was a beautiful story that I’m glad I read. G. Willow Wilson has a gift for language and for telling tales, and I think you should give her a shot.