Deeba, a young girl who lives in London, accidentally ends up in an unusual world where words literally come alive, ghosts have their own suburb to live in, and giraffes are highly dangerous and bloodthirsty creatures. This is unLondon (Un Lun Dun), and Deeba has entered just in time to see war break out between the unLondoners and the deadly Smog. She accidentally finds herself in the unenviable position of trying to beat the Smog and save the unLondoners, and along the way, she assembles a motley crew of companions. The obstacles and dangers they face grow ever more strange and incredible…Will Deeba manage to save unLondon? And will she be able to get back to her own home in London, before her family and friends forget all about her?
This book is aimed at young adults, but this in no way means that it cannot be enjoyed by adults. Deeba is a terrific hero – all the more so, because she is an unexpected hero (it is revealed early on that her friend Zanna is the one expected to save this strange city). But against the odds, people begin to realise that Deeba is intelligent and resourceful.
As well as being a fun story, there is also an underlying message about pollution and the responsible of disposing of our waste – but the book never preaches or lectures.
China Mieveille must have an incredible imagination (and judging by the illustrations in this book, which are also his work, a talent for art as well). The story moves on at a rapid pace, with plenty of twists and turns. It never gets boring, and it is impossible predict what will happen next.
A very enjoyable read, and one I would definitely recommend. Although it could be classed as fantasy, I liked it, although fantasy is not a genre that I am usually drawn to.