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Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
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Un Lun Dun (2007)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,5051482,420 (3.87)1 / 348
  1. 150
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Phantasma, ahstrick, jolerie)
  2. 80
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Phantasma, elbakerone, heidialice)
  3. 61
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (heidialice)
    heidialice: Both are fantastical YA at its best. Gaiman is an acknowledged inspiration for Mieville, and it shows, though he has his own distinctive style and voice.
  4. 51
    The City & the City by China Miéville (heidialice)
    heidialice: May be an obvious recommendation, but these books cover a similar (very original) premise in very different ways. Un Lun Dun is for young teens, smaller in scope and message-heavy; The City & The City for adults, deals with complex themes and offers no easy answers. Both display Mieville's consummate skills and elegant humor.… (more)
  5. 40
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (Scorbet)
  6. 30
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (foggidawn)
  7. 31
    The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (melonbrawl)
    melonbrawl: Similar wordplay and meta-textual playfulness
  8. 00
    The Child Thief by Brom (GirlMisanthrope)
    GirlMisanthrope: A story inspired by/reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Has similar break-neck adventure and constant twists. And great artwork by the author.
  9. 00
    The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric (Rubbah)
  10. 12
    Summerland by Michael Chabon (anglemark)
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English (147)  Czech (1)  All languages (148)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
3.75 stars

There is something special/different about 12-year old Zanna. When she and her best friend, Deeba, end up in a strange world called Un Lun Dun, Zanna is protected by some and chased by others. She and Deeba have been brought here to do something big, it seems.

It was cute, it was fun. It was action-packed pretty much from beginning to end. I also really appreciated the illustrations (by Mieville himself), as I'm not a big fantasy reader, so I sometimes have trouble picturing things via description; the illustrations really helped me picture the story in my head. Very enjoyable. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 13, 2014 |
As with Rail Sea, this started a bit clunky, and was considerably more "YA" in nature. The "Shwazzy" was a bit of a bore and I thought this wasn't going to click with me, but then Deeba took charge and the "new weird" (and wonderful) ride through eccentric UnLondon got under way. Miéville's illustrations bring reminders of Lewis Carol, Mervyn Peake and Norman Lindsay (à la Magic Pudding) to this skilful mix of wickedly playful imagination and allusions to serious, real world matters. (Never fear: you can easily read this on face value and ignore the subtext.) Another winner. ( )
  Vivl | Apr 7, 2014 |
Another wonderful tale full of great characters in an imaginative world of discarded unbrellas, flying buses, and smog. ( )
  ExpatTX | Mar 31, 2014 |
Fun childrens' (young teenagers'?) urban fantasy. What if the "chosen one" doesn't actually do the quest? What happens when her friend tries to pick up the pieces? The ending was slightly weak, or I'd've considered five stars. ( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
Did not finish.
  EMaree | Feb 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
This is Miéville’s first book for younger readers. It is also copiously (and well) illustrated by the author. In it Zanna and Deeba, two of a group of normal young teenagers in London, are beset by strange occurrences. They are attacked by smoke tendrils, freaked out by an ambulatory umbrella and Zanna is addressed as Shwazzy several times during different chance encounters in one of which she is given a card naming her as such.

Soon they are both transported to a strange place where the sun is too large - and doughnut shaped - weird and colourful characters abound and telecommunications work through the medium of what can only be described as carrier wasps. Zanna is revealed as the choisi - chosen – the girl who will save the abcity of Un Lun Dun (unLondon) from the menace of the Smog. She is presumed to know the details of the Armets and their secret weapon the Klinneract which saved real London and drove the Smog to Un Lun Dun. (This parallel existence also contains other abcities such as Parisn’t, Lost Angeles, Sans Francisco and Hong Gone.)

The book which contains the Shwazzy prophecy - and which speaks morosely a la Eeyore or Marvin - turns out to be wrong, though, and Zanna is unable to help. She is incapacitated by the Smog whose attack is only driven off by using specially slit and treated unbrellas made by Mister Brokkenbroll to ward off the smog’s projectiles. With this apparent victory Deeba and the still far from well Zanna return to London. But Deeba cannot forget her experiences, realises that not all may be well in Un Lun Dun and so makes her return. On her quest to find a weapon to defeat the Smog she is accompanied by the aforementioned Book of Prophecy, Bling, a silver furred locust, Diss, a brown bear cub, a four-armed, four-legged, many-eyed man called Cauldron, a half-ghost, half-normal boy called Hemi, and Curdle, an animated milk carton Deeba adopts as a pet.

There are some nice coinages - mostly portmanteau words like smombies, Propheseers and smoglodytes. Mister Brokkenbroll - the Unbrellissimo - is a particularly redolent case. There are also glazed, wooden framed, eight legged things called Black Windows. These are just a few examples of Miéville's playful linguistic invention.

There is more than a hint of Alice in Un Lun Dun though generally Through The Looking Glass rather than Adventures In Wonderland. This is underlined on page 296 when the Speaker of Talklands echoes Humpy Dumpty by saying, “WORDS MEAN WHATEVER I WANT.” We also have a pair of Tweedledum/Tweedledee-ish mitre-wearing clerics, in white and deep red robes respectively, who only move in zig-zags. There are parallels too with THE CITY & YTIC EHT Miéville’s recent adult novel.


Un Lun Dun is an enjoyable romp. For its target audience I would have thought it might be more than a touch too long, though its young readers may welcome a long immersion in Miéville’s skewed world.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton
 

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China Miévilleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, AugustCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In an unremarkable room, in a nondescript building, a man sat working on very non-nondescript theories.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345458443, Paperback)

What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Stumbling into an alternate funhouse version of her home city, twelve-year-old Londoner Deeba finds herself trapped in a world of killer giraffes, animated umbrellas, and ghost children, and must take on the role of savior to prevent utter destruction.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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