Profile: Young Adult, Fantasy, Weird Fantasy
After Action Report:
‘China Miéville’ and ‘children’s book’ are not, at first glance, two things that would appear to mesh. Miéville, who I have described in previous reviews as being macabre, dense and sometimes overwhelmingly complicated (in an enjoyable way), is hardly the first person I’d pick to write a book for older kids and young adults. Nevertheless, Un Lun Dun is a triumphant piece of fiction. It taps into the fundamental truths of adventure stories, uses them where appropriate and turns them on their head when necessary. Miéville’s singular ability to deconstruct genre and trope help create an earnest adventure for those of us who were never singled out for greatness.
Un Lun Dun follows two London girls, Zanna and Deeba who stumble onto a pathway into UnLondon, an abcity behind and beyond London proper. Suddenly dropped into a world of magic, animate garbage, carnivorous giraffes and a never ending parade of strange sights, the girls are desperate to find their way back home. But Zanna is the subject of an ancient prophesy. Called ‘The Shwazzy,’ she is destined to save UnLondon from the malicious cloud of toxins known as the Smog.