Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun: China Mieville: Normally, I don't comment on books before I finish them, but I just wanted to say a few things about China Mieville's foray into YA lit. It reminds me very much, so far, of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, with the idea of a London that exists alongside and unknown to the London of our reality.

In Mieville's story, one girl, Zanna, is the Chosen One -- what she's chosen for, she has no clue about, but she first realizes that something is watching her and and another malevolent force is out to hurt her when she's at school with her friends. After an accident that is clearly somehow related to her, she and her friend, Deeba (who is the only one to stick by her after the accident) stumble into Un Lun Dun, where they begin their journey to find out why and for what Zanna is chosen.

Un Lun Dun contains themes that are found in many Mieville tales -- the idea that an entire reality can exist alongside another with the citizens of at least one of those realities completely ignoring it is especially realized in his novel, The City and the City. His take on this theme for a YA audience is so far enjoyable and appropriate for that audience, while not being dumbed down in the least. I first discovered Mieville when I picked up The City and the City for its lovely cover. I've continued to read his novels and short stories and he has yet to disappoint me. Although Un Lun Dun is written for a younger audience, older readers can also enjoy this story of an alternate London where milk cartons can be pets.

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