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 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Story takes the reader into parts of a culture and land that is unfamiliar, yet exciting. A mixture of religion, culture, technology, and adventure appeals to a wide variety of readers.
Sanjiv managed to portray different voices for each character. I found this not only entertaining, but useful as a listener.
Altogether a great listen that compels me to desire more.
I really did enjoy the book, even though it's kind of a new genre for me ... what i liked most about it is that it took me away from everyday life to a new mysterious existence .... it's also challenging in some aspects ... as it did challenge many of my firmly held beliefs ...
one thing i know for sure ... i will never look at a "veiled" woman the same way again ... which is quite cool really
I don't have time to actually read anymore... does that make me undignified?
Honestly, this isn't a bad story. I listened to it during my commute and sometimes while at work. IF (and this is a really big IF) you don't mind the narrarator making the most bizarre and uncharacteristic voices for some of Wilson's characters. It really took me out of the story sometimes. One of the djinn characters had the voice of some creepy rapist/pedophile. Even though he's one of the best written characters, I just couldn't handle it. Obviously written by a man, because every time the boy protagonist meets a new woman character, he is always "uncomfortable" at the way that they look him up and down. I appreciated some of the imagery, having grown up on the Arabian Peninsula myself. Accurately described social dynamics. If you can get past the weird performance, as well as all of the pseudo-mysticism (it's like he forgets about it sometimes), then you might enjoy this.
I was hoping for a rich picture of the middle east, interesting characters, and some fun fantasy. Instead, the characters are barely developed and the creatures are so unimaginatively written (lots of faceless blobs), that I couldn't bring myself to care about them.
The biggest disappointment was the ridiculous idea of a guy writing code so quickly, mindlessly and amazing that it simply melts computers. The explanations of how and why things work are way beyond the normal suspension of disbelief that the reader expects in a fantasy novel.
Lastly, it was more an advertisement for Islam than I expected. I felt like the author's agenda was to show how this religion is so wonderful. I don't mind reading religious fiction, but I want to know about it ahead of time. If you want a good book that includes the Djinn, I would send you elsewhere—The Golem and the Jinni is far more developed and interesting.
The reader's exaggerated performance of the supernatural characters was distracting and terribly annoying. He also made the American convert sound like a witless idiot, when her character was plainly not written that way.
I was very disappointed, and more than a little irritated.
This book is a very entertaining adventure story that also gives a great picture of some serious issues, from repression in today's Arabian peninsula to the hubris of technology geeks who think that computers can solve life's basic dilemmas.
The story started out fun but quickly became an excuse to try to sell the Koran and many of the Muslim traditions and so became tedious. The author is a American who converted to Islam, which is cool, but a novel about genie's (Jinn), a different take on the Thousand and One Nights, and such is ruined by trying to sell what most westerner's are to "stupid" to see the wisdom of... she implies more than once. The author is obviously very smart, has a magic way with her words, and her passion for her adopted faith is clear but instead of "selling" her faith she turned off this reader who wasn't looking for her version of those Jesus freak pamphlets you find in public restrooms. The only thing I take away from this book is how intellegent, well educated, smart people can sell themselves on silliness by faith whether it be Muslim, Scientologist, Mormon, believing in one God when they believe in three, and so on and so on. It seems the more one has to use their faith to ignore science, patch together contradictions, forget facts, and accept nonsense... the holier they feel. Strange.
Anyway the reader is good but the narrative probably has colored my judgement when in another context he might be 4 stars but don't know.
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