Title: Un Lun Dun
Author: China Miéville
Zanna’s life is getting weird. Strange people are seeking her out, animals aren’t behaving normally around her, and even ordinary objects are taking on a disturbing kind of life. Then Zanna accidentally pulls herself and a friend through to an alternate version of London—Un Lun Dun—where nothing is normal anymore. And Zanna’s somehow expected to save it from a formless menace that’s already been hunting her down . . .
I wanted to like this, but I don’t care for the writing style at all and ended up quitting midway.
The book excels at being weird. Especially once Zanna gets to Un Lun Dun, the story whisks from one unusual thing to the next. I can’t fault it for a lack of imagination—that’s clearly the main selling point of the book.
The problem is the characters.
The story reads like a sketch rather than a story. Here’s a girl whose sole feature of interest is that she wants to go by Zanna instead of Suzanna. Her friends are even less fleshed out. The bus conductor gets more history than the two main characters. The plot tends to present a bit of dialogue or action, then skip to the next little bit, with just enough detail to present the world without really digging in. This is worse in the real London as Un Lun Dun gets more attention. But even in the new world, the details are presented without a lot of fleshing out, and only a few things here or there get a longer glance.
If the writing style and flat characterization doesn’t bother you, then have fun with the weird things that pop up all over. For myself, I need a better plot and better characters to get engaged. Not Recommended.