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Un Lun Dun

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Carnivorous giraffes, ”predatory rubbish,” and corrupt bureaucrats (for realism) are just some of the obstacles heroine Deeba encounters in the otherworldly city of China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun, where ”something might be very not-alright.” Thick, black, and apparently intelligent smog is choking the town to death. Even if she’s not the chosen one of local legend, tough-talking Deeba is the only person resourceful enough to save Un Lun Dun’s magical denizens. Miéville fills his enthralling fantasy with enough plot twists and wordplay for an entire trilogy (one villain has an army of ”utterlings” — language literally has been made flesh), and that’s a good thing.