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Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun - China Miéville For the second book in a row, China Miéville's writing has reminded me of nothing so much as one of Stefon's drug-fueled gay fantasies:UnLondon's hottest club is Smog. This place has everything: naked ghosts, balloon zombies, sentient pollution, buses with lizard feet, spider windows, ninja R2D2s. You know that thing where a trash can has been trained in the martial arts?---This year it was my goal to read 100 books. Which I have accomplished with several weeks to spare!Number one, read in January, was China Miéville's The City & the City, a new weird fantasy about two cities that are like mirror images of one another and connected in mysterious ways. Number 100, which I finished just yesterday, was China Miéville's Un Lun Dun, a new weird fantasy about two cities that are like mirror images of one another and connected in mysterious ways.Hmmm. That's... weird. And also totally unintentional. My mind: blown.Of course, what I should do is read 20 more books before the end of the year (quick, lend me your novellas!) so that China's Kraken, which was book number 60, can sit at the halfway mark, because if you think about it, The City & the City + Kraken = Un Lun Dun (amirite, 12 people reading this who have read all three of those books?).So, echoing statements in Michael's most excellent review, I kind of don't have a lot to say about Un Lun Dun that I didn't say in my review of Kraken (take a look; there are pictures of cats!). This one is just as jam-packed with absurdities, and just as much fun because of it. Nay, more fun, as this volume is illustrated by the author, which is a big help because China's brain on a normal day is like my brain after I spend an hour painting the inside of a garbage bag while sealed inside of it (see, I can't every come up with a worthy simile).Like Kraken, Un Lun Dun is a little deficient in terms of characters and particularly story, which is a pastiche of Niel Gaiman, Alice in Wonderland and an '80s Jim Henson movie. But he is aiming for the YA crowd this time, and there is a classic underdog-on-a-quest event-event-event structure that made me ache to go back in time and shove the book into the hands of my 11-year-old self, so I can't complain too much that I'm no longer a pre-teen. That said, I wonder if any kids have actually read this because it doesn't have any dorky wizards or lame vampires in it. Also I think reading this at 11 would have broken my brain.