2008 Best Books for Young Adults
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.
Praise for Un Lun Dun:
"[O]ne of the most imaginative young adult novels of the post-Potter era.... Most of all, Un Lun Dun is the work of an author fascinated by language, and one who rewards any reader who cares about it half as much as Mieville does."—New York Times Book Review
"For style and inventiveness, turn to Un Lun Dun, by China Mieville, who throws off more imaginative sparks per chapter than most authors can manufacture in a whole book. Mieville sits at the table with Lewis Carroll and Deeba cavorts with another young explorer of topsy-turvy worlds." —The Washington Post Book World
“The authors of children's books have always had remarkable leeway when it comes to echoing the classics. Sometimes the results are merely derivative, but in this case the allusions to Carroll and Baum and Norton Juster and Gaiman only highlight how original Un Lun Dun feels. It hardly seems possible I didn't read this novel and love it at age 12, it brought back so vividly the long, book-drunk days of my late childhood. Like the best children's fiction, Un Lun Dun seems to have always been there, waiting to be discovered.”
“Miéville’s first attempt at writing for young adults is astonishingly good.... Miéville sacrifices none of the maturity and intellectualism of his earlier novels for a cheap read, and the respect with which he treats his young readers is refreshing. It is a sophisticated novel of emotion and social awareness, and it is impossible to leave Unlondon until the last page.”
—Dwain Confer, Lafayette Senior High School
"[Mieville] relies on his formidable storytelling skill for this lenghty yet swiftly moving tale that, with a wink and a nod, cuts through archetypal notions of fate and prophecy." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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 ... Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth will love this novel. The story is exceptional and the action moves along at a quick pace.”
—School Library Journal
"Mieville's compelling heroine and her fantastical journey through the labyrinth of a strange London forms that rare book that feels instantly like a classic and yet is thoroughly modern."
— Holly Black, bestselling author of the YA novels TITHE and VALIANT
“A book which shows the world as it truly is: full of marvels and monsters and unexpected opportunities for heroism and magic. UN LUN DUN is delicious, twisty, ferocious fun, a book so crammed with inventions, delights, and unexpected turns that you will want to start reading it over again as soon as you've reached the end.”
— Kelly Link, author of STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN and MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS
WINNER 2008 - YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2008 - New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, which won the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, which won the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and a collection of short stories, Looking for Jake. He lives and works in London. Un Lun Dun is his first book for younger readers.