Unboring Un Lun Dun

Just finished China Mieville’s YA fantasy novel, Un Lun Dun, which I read in two weeks.

The story is set in a  city very similar, yet very different from London in a lot of ways.  A city both familiar, yet strangely unfamiliar at the same time. Its inhabitants strange and amazing.  It’s not quite London…it’s UnLondon.

At the start of the book, readers are introduced to Deeba and Zanna, two regular high school girls living in London, leading normal teenage lives, until one day when they started noticing strange things happening around them – animals acting strangely around them, strangers approaching them randomly out of nowhere, and other strange, inexplicable happenings.

The series of strange events finally lead them to UnLondun, a strange and wonderful city completely like, yet, unlike London.

Accompanied by her bestfriend Deeba, Zanna is told that she has been chosen by fate to fulfill her destiny to  save UnLondon from an impending doom.

Except things don’t go according to plan, or prophesy.

Un Lun Dun is a wild ride through the amazing and bizarre city, where double-decker buses climb walls to get to its destination, where rubbish move and attack people, and where most of the forgotten things of London turn up and start a new life.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons,  one being Mieville’s imaginative and clever creation of the city of UnLondon and its inhabitants.  However, the main thing I liked about this book is  how its plot seems to  go one way, then  suddenly turns and heads a completely opposite direction.  More than once, the book will take on a seemingly formulaic direction, only to veer off surprisingly from it, much to my delight.

Readers who enjoy good adventure stories but are tired of the usual mission-oriented plot will appreciate this book, especially how the author used common elements of the fantasy genre but presented those elements in a unique way, creating a story which is fresh and unlike any other.

Un Lun Dun is both predictable, and unpredictable.

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4 thoughts on “Unboring Un Lun Dun

  1. Un Lun Dun is one of the cutest, most satisfying YA books I’ve ever read. As much as I adore Mieville’s adult stuff, I wish he’d write more kid stuff too!

      • I prefer his adult stuff, but I don’t know that I’d unequivocally say it’s better than Un Lun Dun, it’s just very, very different. Darker, weirder, more complex, more dangerous, often bordering on fantasy horror. If you like weird tho, give it a try!

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