Search This Blog

Monday, August 2, 2010

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

Yet another book I learned about from Dirda's book chat. I finished this back in June, but never got around to writing my thoughts down, which is too bad because I only remember fragments now (of my thoughts, not the book -- I still remember that).

Like all really good juvenile and teen fiction, Un Lun Dun is well-written enough to be enjoyed by adults. Superficially, the concept of an alternate London populated with the discards of this London reminded me of Gaiman's Neverwhere (brilliant), and the sheer oddity of certain things called to mind Walter Moers's City of Dreaming Books (lots of fun).

The best part, however, was the subversive nature of the story. Zanna is the Chosen One, the girl prophesized to defeat the The Smog. But soon the story takes a sharp left turn -- something goes wrong rather quickly, the betrayal by a trusted ally that usually comes at the climax happens early on, and the prophecy everyone has been relying on turns out to be wrong. Miéville has written a neat twist on the standard fantasy story where an outsider comes in to save a populace; prophecies, fate, and destiny are all well and good, but what really matter are the choices we make.

Fr. Beadbrother has lent me Miéville's The City and the City, which was written for adults and sounds excellent; I've also heard good things about Perdido Street Station.

No comments:

Post a Comment