Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun

Book - 2007
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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, ghost children, and flying double-decker buses and menaced by a choking black smog, and is forced to take on the role of unlikely savior to prevent utter destruction.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345495167
0345495160
Branch Call Number: SF MIEVILLE, CHINA
Science Fiction Mieville
Characteristics: xiv, 432 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

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SCL_Justin Jul 13, 2018

Un Lun Dun is China Mieville’s book for younger readers. There’s less horriffic imagery than in the New Crobuzon books and the language is much cleaned up. I brought it in for Teen Book Club but no one took it home that day. Le sigh.

The story is about two girls in London who get summoned to the magickal abcity UnLondon (and yes the idea is similar to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere) because the one girl is the Chosen One, destined to help UnLondon fight off this terrible menace threatening blah blah blah. So things go on and along and there are untrustworthy ghost-boys and conductors of air-buses and binjas and everyone avoids the horrible flesh-eating giraffes. Great. Then, the girls find the professor who’ll make everything right again and they get to go home to London. Hooray! Everything’s wrapped up in a nice neat little package.

But we’re only a third of the way into the book.

Deeba, who was not the Chosen One, remembers UnLondon but Zanna (the Chosen One) has had her memories of the place removed because she was injured by the beast down there. The UnChosen One starts realizing that they’d actually fucked up majorly and has to find a way back to UnLondon to put things right. This is where it got awesome, because Deeba heads down without the prophecy backing her up. There are 7 steps the Chosen One was supposed to follow to find the weapon that would deal with blah blah blah but she says “We don’t have time to get each of these 7 things let’s just hit the last one; it’ll be the most important right?” Which is the kind of thing you’d expect someone real to do, someone not bound by “how things work in these kinds of stories.” I loved it.

h
humbleworm
Feb 11, 2018

Un Lun Dun is a parallel bizarro-world story like Spirited Away, The Boy And The Beast, Neverwhere or even Alice In Wonderland, though less literary. There is an environmentalist theme throughout but the primary message is that you do control your own destiny even when there's strong evidence to the contrary. This is most evident in a significant plot twist mid-way and decisions that follow. Although it is a minor detail, I thought the bookshelf ladder was ingenious (not to be tried at home).

c
callig
Jun 01, 2016

When i begin a review my usual policy is to try to restrain my deep-rooted nastiness, to minimize my venom-spitting.
In this case, it's hard not to gush.
This is an utter original. It's only fault is that it cries out for a top-drawer illustrator.
In the oceans of plastic 'EFP', [Extruded Fantasy Product] the writing stands out. Mieville actually managed to create a world that lives while you read it. That's in distinct contrast to the mountains of drek written, may i be allowed to be politically incorrect enough to say so, by women, often american.
Read it, or be square. Don't care for YA fiction? "It ain't the meat- it's the motion!" [old blues song]

a
Aragorn13
Dec 20, 2013

This is one of the weirdest, funnest, most exiting, and most creative fantasy books you will ever read. It explores what would happen if the hero of legend who is destined to save the world from evil... fails. Incredibly interesting and engaging book. You won't be able to put it down. 5 stars!!

Sidewinder88 Jun 13, 2012

A creatively written book with a unique story. I couldn't put it down.

h
Hellevander
Jul 29, 2010

This is China Mieville's first children's book and not at all a bad start! A quirky book with an underlying evironmental theme

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humbleworm
Feb 11, 2018

humbleworm thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

VeganGreen Sep 08, 2009

VeganGreen thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 14

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Bookwormie95 Jun 16, 2018

"'If you're brave enough to try, you might be able to catch a train from UnLondon to Parisn't, or No York, or Helsunki, or Lost Angeles, or Sans Francisco, or Hong Gone, or Romeless.'"

Bookwormie95 Jun 16, 2018

"'If we planned ahead... maybe got a gnostechnician to check the travel reports on the undernet... then it would be perfectly safe. Well... reasonably safe. Safe-esque. But, yes, it would be "dangerous" if we didn't think ahead, and we took a wrong turning into Wraithtown, or met some scratchmonkeys or a building with house-rabies, or lord help us, if we ran into the giraffes....'"

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