In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients - dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups - from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif - the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the “Hand of God”, as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.
When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised - and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.
©2012 G. Willow Wilson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"[A] Harry Potter-ish action-adventure romance [that] unfolds against the backdrop of the Arab Spring.... Improbably charming... A bookload of wizardry and glee." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
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"Meandering story, awful voices, interesting idea"
I can't think who would enjoy this, no doubt someone will.
The characters were poorly drawn and paper thin. I found myself wanting the 'hero' to be discovered by the bad guys early on and put out of his misery.The use of language is often bizarre with invented words like 'presentist' and 'pietist' making an appearance.
The idea of computers and the metaphysical interacting is interesting but that's about all, the execution of that idea isn't too bad either but it is surrounded by what I found to be frankly, a boring, often irritating story.
No - UK listeners who remember 'Mystic Meg' on the TV will be reminded of her weird voice that the narrator uses for the voices of the djinn. I found nearly all the voices used for all but the main protagonist are incredibly annoying and distracting.
This started off in a similar way to Arabian Nights set in the modern world and expanded into a fantastical story revolving around demons, jenie and disaffected communities. Interwoven is the the story of the woman behind the burka. I enjoyed it but wasn't completely hooked.
"Clever idea, but didn't quite hit the spot for me."
Sanjiv was able to inhabit his characters in a way that brought them to life.
Clever way of getting across Middle Eastern culture and history to a modern listener.
"A good fantasy yarn but the accent did grate"
I'd recommend it to friends who like fantasy, but I might suggest they find a different narrator or simply read the paper version.
Throughout, Vicram's dark/gallows humour - a definite high point.
Accent Occasionally Baffled
While overall the performance was okay, Jhaveri's accent (I think he has an American 'tint' to his accent) confused me. There was a section where Adam was being discussed - as in the first man - but the accent made it sound like he was saying 'Atom' - as in a constituent of matter.
Also, he would take on characters voices and say something like, "in a booming voice he declared..." in a nasal whiny voice far from what was described.
Not a fan of this narrator.
I really enjoyed this book. At times a bit surreal and sometimes not convincing. However well written book, good reader and I would highly recommend it.
very much so
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