I did not enjoy this book. I have tried to like China Mieville. After all he is so trendy. He wears black. He is a Marxist. He works out. All very cool. He even teaches creative writing so you would expect his books to be good. I read The City and the City and I didn’t like it. This one is a children’s book but the theme is similar. There is a strange parallel London which can be travelled to by means of various portals. This London is where the old, unwanted things of London go. There is rubbish, bus conductors, smog and dead people. Two girls, one of whom is the chosen one, the Shwazzi, find their way to this other London where they meet a range of strange characters and do battle with monsters. The book is imaginative indeed. The fantasy world is grotesque with echoes of Alice in Wonderland. The writing is simple with mostly dialogue and short descriptions. The characters are undeveloped and uninteresting. I found it impossible to care about them. There seems a lack of warmth in the book. I wish I was cool enough to like China Mieville’s work but alas I am not.