Summary from Goodreads:
What is Un Lun Dun?
It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.
When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.
Please excuse me as I fangirl.
But first, a bit of history. I wasn’t aware that there is a genre called New Weird and that a well-known author of this genre is China Mieville until the book club made his books as choices for our book of the month last June. The City and The City won the polls and it was my first foray into the New Weird genre – and into China Mieville’s works. Reading the book of the month turned out to be a very exciting experience such that I immediately started reading his other book, Un Lun Dun.
Un Lun Dun is differentin style and theme from The City and The City but China Mieville’s innovative imagination and amazing genius still shone all throughout the novel. I have instantly become a fan.
With Un Lun Dun, every chapter is laden with exciting events and cliff-hanger endings, it was so easy to get lost in the story and be finished in no time at all. If The City is more on adult/crime, Un Lun Dun is geared towards the young-adult audience. When I read this book, I didn’t know what to expect except that it is YA and I am glad that I had no expectations. I was blown away by the uniqueness of the story and the overwhelming craziness of China Mieville’s imagination. Each time I read something really amazing (which happens every chapter), I had to send my reading buddy text messages in the middle of the night gushing about the awesomeness of China Mieville.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz meets Coraline in this book. And in my not so expert opinion, I think that Un Lun Dun has all the elements of a very enjoyable fantasy. All sorts of creatures beyond imagining are here: garbage bin ninjas, a talking fish tank, creatures who live only on rooftops, flying buses, moving bridges, a half-ghost, King Smog and his smog minions, you name it. Not that I’ve read a lot of fantasy (maybe this is why I was easily awed. Or maybe not, because China Mieville is simply a genius), but the enjoyment I’ve experienced while reading this was far different from the few other fantasy I’ve already read, i.e. George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. The latter’s more serious and downright cruel (I haven’t forgiven Mr. Martin yet for what he did to my favorite characters, you know) while Un Lun Dun was both fun and intelligent. I particularly liked the chapters on the moving windows, the spoken words becoming creatures, and the events leading to the use of the UnGun.
The plot twists were really twists in the real sense of the word because I was caught by surprise each time the revelations came up. The book simply has it all. It explores themes on family, environment, politics, friendships, books, history, fashion, even romance. And that bit about who the main character is. I was totally dumbfounded. I did not really expect something like that. I am in awe. I am a fan. Really.
Now, didn’t I tell you I will be fangirling? 😀
P.S. I will never look at my umbrella the same way again.
“…where’s the skill in being a hero if you were always destined to do it?”
My rating: 5/5 blasting stars from the UnGun!
Reading buddy: Maria of reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac