Category Archives: china mieville

Un Lun Dun

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Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun is a magical blend of Alice in Wonderland and Fern Gully. A tale where it’s not the chosen hero who saves the day but the unlikely sidekicks who band together to fight the forces of darkness. Un Lun Dun begins as many books about heroes and villains. The unwitting young hero doesn’t know that she is the chosen one from another land who must fight to save that land from destruction. In this case that hero is Zanna. She is the chosen one or, in this novel, the Schwazzy. She has to travel to Un Lun Dun, London’s counter city, and save them from the dreaded Smog. Except that’s not how it happens. The chosen one is taken out of the quest early on leaving Un Lun Dun vulnerable. It’s Zanna’s friend Deeba who discovers the nasty plot to destroy Un Lun Dun and it’s Deeba who travels to the counter city to warn them of what’s to come.

The foe in this story is the dreaded Smog, very much like Fern Gully. Many of the scenes with the Smog in this book made me think of Fern Gully and that oil monster thing that tries to take over the forest. Essentially, the Smog in Un Lun Dun is excess from the city of London itself. The byproduct of industry that has no where else to go. And like any good villain, the Smog grows stronger and stronger and can only be vanquished by one particular weapon. One thing I loved so much about this novel was how Mieville cast aside all fantasy quest tropes. First, Mieville diverts the normal heroine trope and has the sidekick save the day, not with her chosen one powers but with common sense and compassion. Then, Mieville decides to have his new sidekick heroine just skip all the normal quests that the chosen one would’ve had to complete in order to defeat the Smog and go straight to the final task. Because who wants to waste time and energy completing all the tasks just to get to the last one?

Un Lun Dun was such a fun read and makes me want to look up more books by this author. His characters are well mapped out, especially Deeba his unlikely heroine, and the story has a very satisfying ending, with the possibility of a sequel thrown in if the author should decide.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment in Book Battle 2015! Happy reading!

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Mixing Up Some Magic

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Mixing Up Some Magic

The next category I’ve chosen in Book Battle 2015 is a book with magic. I’ve decided on China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun. This book was recommended to me years ago and for some reason I never picked it up. I’ve decided to right that wrong and finally read it.

Un Lun Dun sounds like a mixture of Alice in Wonderland and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Two girls, the chosen one Zanna and her friend Deeba, find themselves falling through the looking glass and onto the magical streets of Un Lun Dun. Un Lun Dun is a foil of London itself and is a place where things people discard end up and are put to use. Everything that is lost and broken finds it’s way to Un Lun Dun in what the Un Lun Duners call moil. With the arrival of Zanna and her friend Deeba, Un Lun Dun sees the arrival of the hero they’ve been waiting for to end a battle that might destroy their world.

I’ve never read a book by China Mieville before and am excited to do so. I love finding new authors to include in my repertoire of books. I feel like so often I stay with the same authors or the same genre that it’s nice to find something and someone different to push me out of the nest.

Stay tuned for the review of Un Lun Dun for some magical fun! Happy reading!