Describing the storyline of Un Lun Dun is bound to give some of the creative twists away. There will be no major spoilers here, but there are some minor ones. So with that being said, if you want a completely unsullied experience get out now. Skip down to the picture of the Wolfenstein cover.
Still here? Well then let me tell you my favorite thing about the book. The chosen one fails in the first fourth of the book and is no longer the main character. I loved that more than any other part of this book. Instead her best friend, barely mentioned in the prophecies, becomes the hero of the story. It was such a refreshing experience. Rather than follow the prophecy, Deeba follows the parts she deems important. She cuts out the middlemen and heads straight for the final dungeon. It’s just so brilliant. Any reader can empathize with her tale. We’ve all had moments where our friends were chosen for something and we were overlooked. We’ve all wanted to prove that we could be the hero of the story, regardless of our delegated roles. It’s a book intended for young adult readers, but the themes are applicable to us all.
The world that the author creates is remarkable. Un Lun Dun (Unlondon) is a world full of things that shouldn’t make any sense. From carnivorous giraffes to flocks of unbrellas, the book is enthusiastically creative. It’s a joy to learn about Unlondon and what makes it unique from London. I don’t want to give too much more away, but the wordplay in the book elicited a few shocked grins. If you like joy, creativity, or wonder, you’d do well to pick up this book. If you have any young readers in your family, ask them to give this a shot. It’s well worth it.
I also completed Wolfenstein: The New Order this week. This is a first-person shooter developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda. I’m not going to critique the gameplay here, but I wanted to mention this game because it has a surprisingly great scifi story. Wolfenstein follows William “B.J.” Blazkowicz through an alternate history where the nazis won World War II.
The story opens with B.J. attacking the compound of Nazi General Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse with a group of special forces soldiers. The attack is a glorious failure and results in a head injury for our hero. When he awakens fourteen years later, the Nazi’s have taken over the world and the moon. They come to the hospital where he has been in a vegetative state and attack those who cared for him over the years. He awakens and murders everyone and goes off to join the resistance.
The game then follows a series of missions where we build up the resistance forces and try to shift the balance of world power. There is a surprisingly genuine love story that blossoms between B.J. and his caretaker from the hospital Anya. The writing is crisp, and the backstory materials hidden throughout the world are actually worth reading. By the end of the game, Machine Games has crafted one of the single best stories in games this year. And that ending credits song may have jerked a few tears.
Anyway, if you want to tell me Un Lun Dun would be a great vacation spot or that you think I’m wrong about Wolfenstein, feel free to send me a message or tweet me @left4turtle.