This was something of an impulsive purchase, and it turned out to be lighter reading than I expected. Each section is very short, sometimes just three pages long, and it leaves you wondering why he included such-and-such a place if there was so little to say about it. After all, the point of this book is to highlight interesting stuff about places that don’t exist (that either never have, or no longer do, or can’t officially, or…), so surely it’s worth spending some time on each one. Instead, a lot of the sections come across as perfunctory, included more out of a sense that they fit the theme than because they’re interesting.
There are some interesting facts in here, and I do enjoy the way Bonnett cross-references with fiction — when he talks about St Petersburg/Leningrad, he mentions China Miéville’s The City & The City, for example. But it was too much of a grab bag of not-always-interesting facts, and sometimes it also came across as rather preachy. Not that I disagree with Bonnett on many of these things, but still, the tone is offputting.