by China Mieville
Not being a huge fan of conventional fantasy, I was curious to hear of China Mieville's effort to turn its conventions inside out with his first young-adult novel, Un Lun Dun. His protagonist, Zanna, travels, along with her wisecracking friend, Deeba, into a strange, topsy-turvy London, where she finds out her destiny: she's the only one who can save this world. So far, nothing new. But, as so often happens in Un Lun Dun, things quickly turn upside-down and backwards and inside-out, leaving the prophecies in tatters and the Chosen One un-chosen. Can the quirky sidekick become the heroine she was never supposed to be? Mieville populates his bizarro London with dozens of bizarre personalities, some adorable, some ridiculous, some truly frightening. A fun and imaginative ride, with some very memorable moments.