This one is hard to nail down. It evokes Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Aladdin while remaining fresh and unique. Alif, a hacker genius and Dina, his veiled Moslem sidekick, take us on an odyssey between their world, an unnamed Arab state which is about to explode, and the world of the supernatural. Along the way they pick up a holy book and lots of jinn helpmates, including an honest-to-goodness genie. They step into one bad situation after another and manage to survive only because they recognize some basic truths about themselves and are not afraid to embrace the unknowable. It is an action-packed page-turner that is as absurd as it is profound. The fact that it was written before the Arab Spring is more confounding than any of the puzzles they encounter.