Tuesday, January 8, 2008

YA Review: Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (rated 5 stars)

by China Mieville

77 books / 18 friends / 2 groups
When I ordered this book for the library, I had no idea what I was signing up for. The reviews were good to great but then I saw on the cover that Holly Black, of the Spiderwick Chronicles, is quoted at saying that it “feels instantly like a classic…” I thought, “Well, that’s a bold claim” and immediately was swept in by Mieville’s writing. His words illustrated the scenes and feelings of his characters that I have found missing in a lot of the books I have already read. For example,
“Deeba and Zanna stared. The rubbish moving towards them. It was coming against the wind…/ The cartons and cans rolled in their direction. The paper fluttering for them as madly as butterflies. The plastic bags reached out their handles and scrambled towards the girls…/Behind them there was a scrunching of paper, a percussion of cardboard, the squelch of damp things moving fast. The girls were fighting for breath.” (pg. 28)

The book is filled with amazing images of an alternative London, or Un Lun Dun. Expected the unexpected in this fantasy novel. It was great fun reading it and at moments I laughed out loud. I loved the different characters from the binja (yup, they are what you think they are) to Obaday Fing, the designer who makes clothes out of books and has a head full of pins.
“Un Lun Dun” reminded me a bit of “Alice In Wonderland” meets “the Matrix.” I would describe it as ecological fantasy. The main villain is “The Smog.”
It is definitely one of my top books for the new year, even though it came out last year. Another plus is looking at all of Mieville’s illustrations of the characters and Un Lun Dun.

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