Un Lun Dun by China MievilleMy rating: Urban Fantasy
Un Lun Dun is an urban fantasy fairytale set between London and its secret shadow, UnLondon. Broken and unwanted things seep from London through to UnLondon, where they take on new life, leading to houses built from typewriters and buses with legs. Although I enjoyed the vivid imagining of the abcity and its wonderfully weird inhabitants, I found the story very slow to get going, and it didn't really grip me until past a third of the way through.
The story starts as two girls from London make the journey to UnLondon by accident. Zanna has been having lots of strange experiences, and so it's hardly a surprise that she turns out to be the prophesied saviour of UnLondon, but I was disappointed by her bland character. By contrast, her best friend Deeba is a proper heroine, despite being understandably terrified of their strange new surroundings. I really liked Deeba's relationships with the UnLondoners, and her loyalty to both new friends and old, which gave the story a heart.
There was a lot of good stuff in the writing, from clever puns to unexpected twists. I just wish the beginning had felt a bit less like wading through treacle to get to the real plot.