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Un Lun Dun
Cover of Un Lun Dun
Un Lun Dun
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Phantom Tollbooth."—SalonWhat is Un Lun Dun?It is London through the looking...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Phantom Tollbooth."—SalonWhat is Un Lun Dun?It is London through the looking...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • "Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Phantom Tollbooth."—Salon
    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.
    BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mieville's Embassytown.

    Praise for Un Lun Dun
    "Miéville fills his enthralling fantasy with enough plot twists and wordplay for an entire trilogy, and that is a good thing. A-."—Entertainment Weekly
    "For style and inventiveness, turn to Un Lun Dun, by China Miéville, 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
    "Delicious, twisty, ferocious fun . . . 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 Magic for Beginners

    "[A] wondrous thrill ride . . . Like the best fantasy authors, [Miéville] fully realizes his imaginary city." The A.V. Club
    "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 Spiderwick Chronicles
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • Chapter One 1

    The Respectful Fox

    There was no doubt about it: there was a fox behind the climbing frame. And it was watching.

    "It is, isn't it?"

    The playground was full of children, their gray uniforms flapping as they ran and kicked balls into makeshift goals. Amid the shouting and the games, a few girls were watching the fox.

    "It definitely is. It's just watching us," a tall blond girl said. She could see the animal clearly behind a fringe of grass and thistle. "Why isn't it moving?" She walked slowly towards it.



    At first the friends had thought the animal was a dog, and had started ambling towards it while they chatted. But halfway across the tarmac they had realized it was a fox.

    It was a cold cloudless autumn morning and the sun was bright. None of them could quite believe what they were seeing. The fox kept standing still as they approached.

    "I saw one once before," whispered Kath, shifting her bag from shoulder to shoulder. "I was with my dad by the canal. He told me there's loads in London now, but you don't normally see them."

    "It should be running," said Keisha, anxiously. "I'm staying here. That's got teeth."

    "All the better to eat you with," said Deeba.

    "That was a wolf," said Kath.

    Kath and Keisha held back: Zanna, the blond girl, slowly approached the fox, with Deeba, as usual, by her side. They got closer, expecting it to arch into one of those beautiful curves of animal panic, and duck under the fence. It kept not doing so.

    The girls had never seen any animal so still. It wasn't that it wasn't moving: it was furiously not-moving. By the time they got close to the climbing frame they were creeping exaggeratedly, like cartoon hunters.

    The fox eyed Zanna's outstretched hand politely. Deeba frowned.

    "Yeah, it is watching," Deeba said. "But not us. It's watching you."



    Zanna—she hated her name Susanna, and she hated "Sue" even more—had moved to the estate about a year ago, and quickly made friends with Kath and Keisha and Becks and others. Especially Deeba. On her way to Kilburn Comprehensive, on her first day, Deeba had made Zanna laugh, which not many people could do. Since then, where Zanna was, Deeba tended to be too. There was something about Zanna that drew attention. She was decent-to-good at things like sports, schoolwork, dancing, whatever, but that wasn't it: she did well enough to do well, but never enough to stand out. She was tall and striking, but she never played that up either: if anything, she seemed to try to stay in the background. But she never quite could. If she hadn't been easy to get on with, that could have caused her trouble.

    Sometimes even her mates were a little bit wary of Zanna, as if they weren't quite sure how to deal with her. Even Deeba herself had to admit that Zanna could be a bit dreamy. Sometimes she would sort of zone out, staring skywards or losing the thread of what she was saying.

    Just at that moment, however, she was concentrating hard on what Deeba had just said.



    Zanna put her hands on her hips, and even her sudden movement didn't make the fox jump.

    "It's true," said Deeba. "It hasn't taken its eyes off you."

    Zanna met the fox's gentle vulpine gaze. All the girls watching, and the animal, seemed to get lost in something.

    . . . Until their attention was interrupted by the bell for the end of break. The girls looked at each other, blinking.

    The fox finally moved. Still looking at Zanna, it bowed its head. It did it once, then leapt up and was gone.

    Deeba watched Zanna, and muttered, "This is just getting weird."

About the Author-

  • 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.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books rozeb - We did this for our book club book, otter and me. But that was a long time ago, like a year ago. It is an awesome book!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 12, 2007
    Miéville (King Rat
    ) presents a remarkable bit of world-building. London teenager Zanna (short for Susanna) starts to experience odd occurrences: clouds that resemble her, strangers who call her the "Shwazzy," and graffiti that reads "Zanna For Ever!" Zanna, it turns out, is
    the Shwazzy (choisi
    or "chosen one") of the people of UnLondon (the Un Lun Dun of the title), a surreal mirror-image of London ("Abcities have existed at least as long as the cities," a book of prophecy tells her, "Each dreams the other"). Together, Zanna and her friend Deeba wind up in UnLondon, a Gaiman-esque wonderland of ghosts, zombies, walking garbage cans and sentient umbrellas. (Its people have a sense of humor, describing how they disposed of pre-euro currency, and other parallel "abcities" such as "Parisn't" and "No York"). The Smog, a beast borne of London's "smoke from chemicals and poisons" haunts UnLondon, and it seems that Zanna is the one designated to defeat the Smog. But a twist of fate unleashes unforeseen events and the UnLondoners wind up pinning their hopes on Deeba. Miéville employs a few tricks from the experimental novelist's bag (five-words-long chapters, others that end mid-sentence, puns and wordplay galore) but by and large relies on his formidable storytelling skill for this lengthy yet swift-moving tale that, with a wink and a nod, cuts through archetypal notions of fate and prophecy. Highly recommended for Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker fans especially. Ages 12-up.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2006
    Though it's being marketed as a YA title, Miéville's ("The Scar") latest will appeal to his adult fans as well as other adult sf readers. It begins with a conventional fantasy framework: a young person is pulled into another world, turns out to be the hero who's been prophesied, and triumphs over great adversity to save the day. However, it's not long before the conventions are set on their collective ear. The hero is struck down, and the friend once relegated to the role of comic sidekick must take the reins. Other prophecies turn out to be wrong as well, and the enemy's reach spans both the fantasy world and the real London that a 12-year-old named Deeba calls home. Miéville displays his usual flair for creating completely original settings and creatures, including a pet milk carton and some terrifying giraffes. His only nod to the YA audience has been to tone down the eroticism evident in his other works. The characters are well realized and the book has a fair amount of sociopolitical subtext, mostly about questioning the status quo and thinking for oneself. Recommended for most adult sf collections. (Illustrations by the author not seen.)arl G. Siewart, Hardesty Regional Lib., Tulsa

    Copyright 2006 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2007
    Gr 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. Mié ville'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 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Holly Black, bestselling author of the YA novels TITHE and VALIANT "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."
  • Kelly Link, author of STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN and MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS "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."

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