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Un Lun Dun [Kindle Edition]

China Mieville
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition $7.69  
Hardcover $17.95  
Paperback $9.13  
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Book Description

The iron wheel began to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster. The room grew darker. As the light lessened, so did the sound. Deeba and Zanna stared at each other in wonder. The noise of the cars and vans and motorbikes outside grew tinny . . . The wheel turned off all the cars and turned off all the lamps. It was turning off London.

Zanna and Deeba are two girls leading ordinary lives, until they stumble into the world of UnLondon, an urban Wonderland where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people too. Here discarded umbrellas stalk with spidery menace, carnivorous giraffes roam the streets, and a jungle sprawls beyond the door of an ordinary house.

UnLondon is under siege by the sinister Smog and its stink-junkie slaves; it is a city awaiting its hero. Guided by a magic book that can’t quite get its facts straight, and pursued by Hemi the half-ghost boy, the girls set out to stop the poisonous cloud before it burns everything in its path. They are joined in their quest by a motley band of UnLondon locals, including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas, Obaday Fing, a couturier whose head is an enormous pincushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle.

The world of UnLondon is populated by astonishing frights and delights that will thrill the imagination.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–9—In present-day London, strange things start happening around Zanna: dogs stop to stare at her, birds circle her head. Then, she and her friend Deeba find themselves in an alternate reality where obsolete objects such as old typewriters eventually "seep" and strange people and creatures dwell, including sentient "unbrellas." The girls learn that Zanna is the chosen one, the "shwazzy," of UnLondon. However, her first fight with the nefarious Smog isn't what was predicted in the book of prophecies. The girls soon end up back in London with Zanna unable to recall their time away. Alone in the memory, Deeba pieces together the Smog's plot and finds a way back to UnLondon via library stacks. Readers soon realize that sometimes the chosen one doesn't get to save a city, and that sometimes steps in a preordained quest don't come out as planned. Miéville's fantastical city is vivid and splendidly crafted. Who would have thought a milk carton could make such an endearing pet? Or that words, or utterlings, could have a life and form of their own? Fans of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002) or Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth (Knopf, 1961) will love this novel. The story is exceptional and the action moves along at a quick pace. Given that the girls are 12, older readers might be put off, but it is well worth selling to them.—Nancy Kunz, Tuckahoe Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Award-winning author China Miéville (King Rat; Perdido Street Station; The Scar; Iron Council, HHHH Jan/Feb 2005) claims that he meant Un Lun Dun for younger readers, but, like the Harry Potterseries, the novel will appeal to a wide range of ages. While it includes the basics of the genre—magic, monsters, quests, heroes—it breaks the mold in many ways. An urban adventure with a strong environmental message, the novel harkens back to London's Great Smog of 1952, which bridges the real and the fantastical. Miéville's playful, clever language and plot, reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's, also impressed most critics, though a few thought them contrived and tedious. "Finding it as a grown-up may not be the optimum way to stumble into UnLondon," concludes Salon, "but it's pretty miraculous all the same."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3761 KB
  • Print Length: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Reprints edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058GLUUU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,213 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish this was around when I was a boy. February 13, 2007
On my son's tenth birthday he will get this book. This will happen in a little over seven years from now.

Mieville has ventured into YA fiction with Un Lun Dun and it is a tremendous accomplishment within the genre. This is the story of a journey to another London that exists near the one we are familiar with. But things are different and there are some big problems for the two young ladies who find themselves in Un Lun Dun. Mieville's hallmark - imaginative monsters - is here and they exist in wonderful, fanciful piles. His punning creations are groan-worthy and painted a number of rueful smiles on my face. Mieville wants readers to have the joy of surprise, so I'm keeping quite about the details. But I guarantee you will never think of giraffes the same way ever again. There are also marvelous characters and companions, all vivid and memorable.

Un Lun Dun subverts your typical fantasy formula. The chosen one doesn't seem to be getting it done, prophecies are falling apart, and quests are veering outside of expectations. Mieville has been both lauded and slammed for being a "message" author. The message for youngsters is pretty straightforward - don't wait to be saved by the hero, question authority, try hard, and with the help of good friends and you can change things for the better.

Mieville has to this date been a very adult writer but he reigns in both the violence and the vocabulary to truly make this a YA title. There is violence and danger, but it is not excessive. He does keep the sense of excitement through the book and the pacing is very brisk. Un Lun Dun is not a departure for Mieville; he is just doing for young adult fantasy what he has already done for regular fantasy. He has given us a smart, non-formulaic, but always entertaining book.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no condescension here March 15, 2007
A great many YA novels attempt a modicum of maturity but fall far short and end up being what would appropriately be termed children's literature. The level of condescension present in many of them is almost offensive, suggesting that young adults cannot be subtle nor intuitive readers. Mieville takes a remarkable stand against this trend and delivers a novel that is enchanting and challenging to multiple levels of readers. His language is beautiful, challenging, and most importantly playful.

As with most of his novels, the setting of ULD is as much a character as is Deeba or any of her party. The inhabitants of the abcity Unlundun are rich in character and are conjured from the simplest of ideas into unforgettable characters--a conscious milk carton most of all. Mieville paints a city whose denizens force the readers to reconsider our lives: fated observer or willful participant? This is not a comfortable book to read, and readers will find themselves pausing frequently to compare their own cities with Mieville's abcities.

The social and political commentary is subtle yet insistent. Young readers with a growing awareness of social and political ideologies would benefit from reading this novel with careful consideration of the historical context. Mieville's own leftist political ideologies are not overt, but they do beg themselves to be considered in light of the turmoil in Unlundun, a turmoil not unlike what is developing (or is peaking) in our own world.

Subversion is a central theme, and Mieville does a masterful job of not only refusing to bow to the templates of the genre but of creating an entirely new one: heroes aren't heroic; prophecies aren't prophetic; and words aren't our own.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a Londonophile--no, I'm not even certain that's a word, but it describes the feeling: a deep and abiding love of the city of London, which, since I don't live there, often manifests itself in my frequent devouring of books and movies that are set in, and especially celebrate, London. I'm especially fond of the subgenre of fiction "urban fantasy"--outrageous and fantastic events and characters set against the familiar backdrop of the Big Smoke, situations and events that illuminate our ordinary everyday world with a magical light. Among my favorite almost-otherworldly Londons: J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," Philip Pullman's "The Ruby in the Smoke," G. P. Taylor's ""Wormwood" and (an obvious but oft-overlooked choice in the genre) Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." Recently I've added China Miéville's wonderful, moody and spooky "King Rat" and "Perdido Street Station" to my library, and was delighted to discover he has also written "Un Lun Dun," a wonderfully nuanced and shadowy young adult novel that celebrates the joy and diversity of the city on the Thames.

Miéville's foray into young adult lit from his usual venue of adult fiction gives us an interesting and effective result.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Urban Fantasy for All Ages
China Miéville's urban fantasy, on the surface, seems to have a lot of roots in Gaiman's Neverwhere, but as you progress through the novel, you soon realize that Un Lun Dun... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Patrick McDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars A crazy, imaginative fantasy
Ever felt that life was a bit, well, boring? If so, then welcome to Un Lun Dun(A.K.A Unlondon), where there are clothes made of books, carnivorous giraffes roam the city, and the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Student
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring and excitement
BORING NO ACTION..lame needs excitement very lame. And the other side of my life is a black man's pumpkin. Gosh geez
Published 1 month ago by pokemonpoker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fun and quirky, may be a YA offering, but still fun for an adult read.
Published 3 months ago by Paul Bentz
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Imaginative Youth Lit
At first I was going to skip this one as it was listed as for young readers. I am glad I did not, however. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ken Sodemann
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip this, get some other CM books
I am a big fan of CM, but I had to force myself to finish this. Not Mieville's best effort by a long shot, get Railsea if you want a YA novel, or pretty much anything else he's... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Not My Real Name
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully clever world that gleefully lampoons cliches of the genre
WARNING: Review contains spoilers.

At times it feels like the Young Adult genre of literature gets stuck in periodic ruts. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kenya Starflight
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever!
Wow, this book was awesome. It starts off a bit slow, but read further and it will be the best book you've ever read.
Published 8 months ago by SAS
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and imaginative!
This book was very awesome, and it kind of put a whole new spin on "Pollution is your enemy". Read more
Published 9 months ago by Baz
5.0 out of 5 stars moving up a level, then loosing your footing
have you ever read neil gaiman and thought to yourself, "man, i wish this guy did novels for adults"? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joshua Sowders
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More About the Author

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.


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