Deeba and Zanna, both twelve-year-old London girls, find their way into Un Lun Dun (UnLondon). Magic works in the abcity: there’s feral rubbish, the ghosts of Wraithtown, words made flesh. Most of all, there’s the Smog, an enormous cloud of pollution that’s become sentient and wants to consume everything.
This book is aimed at a younger audience than his Bas-Lag novels, such as Iron Council. Supporting characters do die and Deeba must undergo trials, but this book is not grim. Indeed, in places, it’s positively whimsical, and Miéville owes a clear debt to earlier English fantasists, like Mervyn Peake and Lewis Carroll.