The book sends up many fantasy cliches - the "chosen one" Zanna is incapacitated early leaving her ordinary, prophecy-free friend Deeba to save the day. In doing so Deeba is tasked with a chain of thirteen magical-object quests - but refreshingly decides to jump straight to the last one. The inhabitants of UnLunDun are utterly ridiculous (martial arts dustbins, animate umbrellas etc.) but still manage to be both engaging and threatening at times, and the Smog as an evil entity works well even though the anti-pollution message is perhaps a little too obvious. Finally Mieville proves with this novel that he clearly understands the true terror of the giraffe - I'm now keeping my second-storey windows firmly closed at night.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Giraffe terror comes to London [Review: Un Lun Dun]
This China Mieville novel is written for the teenage or YA reader however can be enjoyed at any age. The scenario, in which two friends are transported magically into an alternative version of London where all the rubbish goes, is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere although, unfettered by Underground station puns, Mieville's fantasy seems a little fresher.