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Book Review: UN LUN DUN by China Miéville August 17, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Book Reviews.
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My rating: 8.64 out of 10 – loved it!

When Zanna and Deeba, two girls from London, stumble upon their city’s mysterious alter ego, UnLondon, they have no idea that they are predestined to figure prominently in its future and are about to embark on the most breathtaking adventure.

UnLondon, you see, is an abcity – a fantastical parallel universe to the real thing, similar to other abcities like Parisn’t, Helsunki, Sans Francisco, Lost Angeles and, I am now convinced, Nohannesburg and Cape Down. It is a non-place that could only have been conjured up by the twisted genius mind of China Miéville – populated by the most outlandish and phantasmagorical characters and scene of an epic battle between good and evil.

While J.K. Rowling has at times been charged with cobbling together her Harry Potter saga from bits and pieces out of the existing canon of fantasy fiction, Miéville can never be accused of lacking imagination and originality. For me, he has been one of the finds of the decade as far as new writers go. He’s my undisputed king of steampunk and weird fiction, his work, a delicious combination of postindustrial sci-fi and swash-buckling organico-goth fantasy.

UN LUN DUN is a book for “younger readers” and makes no claims to be anything else, but the parallels with Miéville’s other books, particularly the amazing Perdido Street Station, are obvious. UN LUN DUN is funnier and substantially lighter on the existential angst and moral ambiguity fronts than Miéville’s “grown-up” fiction, but it’s still a brilliant read for people of any age. I couldn’t put it down.

Read it – you’ll never look at your own city (or at broken umbrellas, empty milk cartons and giraffes) the same way again.

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