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Un Lun Dun: 08/24/10
Un Lun Dun by China Miéville was an impulse buy. I knew I wanted to read another Miéville book but I didn't know which one. I also only had about fifteen seconds to make my choice. So I picked the one with the cover I liked best. Now I would have probably loved any of the Miéville books on offer that day but Un Lun Dun has become a family favorite: read and loved by my husband, my son and me.
The book begins like a typical tween fantasy quest with a young girl (or in this case, two young girls) seeing a strange other-worldly creature. Zanna's been told she's the Shwazzy. One evening while Zanna and Deeba follow a strange broken umbrella they end up in an alternate London, or as the inhabitants call it, Un Lun Dun.
Had Un Lun Dun followed the typical Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Peter and Wendy blueprint, it would have been a perfectly acceptable fantasy. It's full of delicious puns and commentary on life in London. The pages are illustrated by the author in a style similar to those by John Tenneil.
Miéville though didn't take it easy with Un Lun Dun. Instead he takes the expected story and turns it inside out. He makes an adventure into a misadventure and turns a generic fantasy into a witty urban fantasy. At the end of the book he thanks Neil Gaiman for Neverwhere inspiring him to write Un Lun Dun. Yes, there are some Neverwherish aspects to Un Lun Dun but they are put through Miéville's own perspective.
Fans of Miéville's books will also see nods to "Reports Of Certain Events In London" from Looking for Jake, The Scar and Iron Council.
If you've read the book and want to discuss it, leave your comments here or ping me on twitter.
Comment #1: Wednesday, August, 25, 2010 at 08:37:55
I've read so many great reviews about this book, but this is the first I've heard that it's illustrated. And I love Tenniel's work, so if it's anything like that, I'm even more eager to read this book!
Comment #2: Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:19:38
It's an excellent book. You should read it.
COmment #3: Wednesday, August, 25, 2010 at 18:21:38
I am a HUGE China Mieville fan! I really love this book and have recommended it to a lot of people (young and adult) just because I like the story so much. And those cool (and sometimes scary) illustrations! Very nice to read your thoughts on the book.
Comment #4: Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:22:28
I've recommended it to almost everyone I know.