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.
China Mieville has been a fantasy/science fiction author that I have been interested in for quite some time, but this was my first attempt to read him. I liked the cover for this book, and the illustrations were very appealing for the simplistic nature. They added to the story. I received this book when it first came out, but when I tried it the first time it did not interest me. I put it aside for a few months to go back to when the mood was right. When I reattempted a couple months ago, I found that it was actually a fun book.

Un Lun Dun is sort of like the mirror universe to London. When people in London try to get rid of things, Un Lun Dun is where they go. They are in trouble, though, and they are waiting for their saviour to come and make things right. They have a book that has outlined everything that will happen when their saviour arrives, but when Deeba and Zanna find their way over there and appear to be the prophecy coming true, the citizens of Un Lun Dun soon learn that things do not always go the way they are supposed to. These are their adventures to save Un Lun Dun from those that wish to bring about its destruction.

This book is a magical adventure for young readers everywhere. It has its awkward moments where I found that I just wanted to skip ahead, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I think it was a promising first look at China Mieville, and I look forward to reading more from him in the future. The paperback is coming out in January, so it is just in time to purchase it with your Christmas money. I recommend this book for a fun read with illustrations.

To read more about it, head over to Random House, where it is published.


My husband has read this and really enjoyed it. I will at some point for sure. It mentions Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman at the beginning apparently as they are similar in theme (so is Valient by Holly Black to a degree).

I think I said on your other blog that I have yet to get past the halfway point of this book, although I certainly will.

What frustrates me the most about this book is that it has some of the wonderful passages of story, beautifully written, followed by snippets of writing that grammatically are no better than elementary school writing. At least that was the experience I was having. There were some really awkward sentences there, made the more awkward because of Mieville's reputation as being this amazing writer.

It is compared to Neverwhere thematically, but judging from what I've read thus far, Mieville has yet to be in the same class of writer as Neil Gaiman despite what other writers, including Gaiman, say of him.

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.