Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar was not particularly impressive to me. It’s a story set in a world where the Jewish state was founded in a part of Kenya, as proposed in the Uganda Scheme by the British at the time. It then escalates to include alternate realities in general, which is a topic I like a lot – but I felt like the book tried to be too many things at the same time, which turned into not being good at any of them. The characters were so busy with the plot that there wasn’t really time for any character development. The plot wanted to hand us a lot of action, and realisticly annoying modern life, but often had to make way for lyrical-weird storytelling (which I liked, btw). The storytelling sometimes was (trying to be) very fancy (look, we can use different POVs! First person narrator, second person narrator, thir… ), but then had to take some time off in between to deal with some action in the plot. And so on, and so on – I got the feeling that there were easily two or three good books in there, but that they were combined badly. It’s still an entertaining book, but it’s not shaping up to stand out. I’ll give bonus points for ths line, though: “You can call it quantum mechanics, you can call it Kaballah, but either way …”
Side note: I feel like the protagonist as the not-really-veiled author has been done to death. The protagonist is a Jewish-isreali pulp writer who is even named very similarly to the author, and has written a book with the same title as the author, and so on. For all the readers who need to be hit with the clue bat once or twice for their own good.
I was provided with an advance copy of this book in return for the honest review you just read.