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474 pages, Paperback
First published February 13, 2007
'I know you're not a sidekick.'This is an ode to all the sidekicks out there, those who were 'destined' to be on the sidelines, to be the 'funny one' or 'brainy one' or 'whatever one' to the Chosen One. Don't you hate that trope? I do. I know that in a fantasy setting I'd surely be the sidekick. I do not love that designation, and, apparently, neither does China Miéville. And while he is busy subverting that ages-old trope, he decides to overturn a few more genre clichés (the quests, the prophesies, all that), making it a delightful, fresh read.
'No one is!' Deeba shouted. 'That's no way to talk about anyone! To say they're just hangers-on to someone more important.'
'If we planned ahead, sent a few messages', Obaday went on, 'maybe got a gnostechnician to check the travel reports on the undernet, stayed each night with friends in safe places in whatever borough we reached then it would be perfectly safe. Well, reasonably safe. Safe-esque. But, yes, it would be dangerous if we didn't think ahead, and we took a wrong turning into Wraithtown, or met some scratchmonkeys or a building with house-rabies, or, lord help us, if we ran into the giraffes.'The city-protagonist that CM excels at creating is the titular UnLondon, the 'abcity' (just like "Parisn't, or No York, or Helsunki, or Lost Angeles, or Sans Francisco, or Hong Gone, or Romeless") that can (of course!) be entered by 'booksteps' and 'storyladders', with the parallels to the 'regular' world in the same way as "Alice in Wonderland" has parallels to it.
"In the streets of UnLondon, a group of a girl, a half-ghost, a talking book, a piece of rubbish, and two living words was unusual, but not very."This book won its way into my heart because of its delightful bizarre weirdness, and stayed in my heart because of its 'sidekick', Deeba Resham. The funny, brash, not particularly sophisticated, snarky young girl with bad grammar, good heart, street-smarts, stubbornness and determination enough for a whole city, with an (Un-)milk carton Curdle as a pet, with complete disregard for tropes and destiny and prophecies and all that fluff. TEAM DEEBA! is the next t-shirt I'm investing in. Seriously.
In front of 'CHOSEN ONE ROOLZ!' someone had added 'UN-'.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
'Look at that,' she said, delighted. 'It's accurate now'.
"The thing is," Deeba said, eyeing Mr. Speaker, "you could only make words do what you want if it was just you deciding what they mean. But it isn't. It's everyone else, too. Which means you might want to give them orders, but you aren't in control. No one is."I really like: half ghost boy half. There Nice description. However, accidentally hitting my dear and courageous six legged baby named Bear utterling Diskin (toilet drowned in the river!) And a permanent bus driver Rosa (starve yourself trapped in another dimension of the room!) expected death brutal death. .. I can not say I did not see it appreciate children's book. Death was no accident and death of children's literature in places, but I think there must be some care and attention when it happens. These deaths feel cheap. Fortunately, despite the anger, what happened to the two, has been a very cute Curdle, development distract me, warm my heart.