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Un Lun Dun

Review

Un Lun Dun

Zanna and Deeba are typical 12-year-old girls living normal lives in English Suburbia. Typical, that is, if having dogs bow their heads to you and watching umbrellas crawl up the side of a house in an attempt to break in is typical. The odd happenings surrounding the girls' daily lives seem relaxed and ordinary after they follow a barely visible trail on the streets of London, through a random doorway and down some stairs. After that, everything is strange, bizarre and definitely not commonplace. The girls have entered Un Lun Dun.

Un Lun Dun (or UnLondon) is a world of lost souls living, it would seem, below the hectic streets of modern London. It is a place where broken things, broken people and broken dreams have gone to await a long-called-for savior.

British science fiction/fantasy writer China Miéville has penned a classic of children's fantasy with UN LUN DUN. Full of endless magic, long-legged monsters, talking umbrellas and mischievous dark clouds, this book is an excellent introduction to the world of science fiction. It is scary enough to keep readers, young and not-so-young, on the edge but friendly enough to provoke laugher and smiles.

Miéville is no stranger when it comes to weaving an intricate and fascinating tale of science fiction. With several hugely popular adult sci-fi books already published and a mantle full of awards (such as the British Fantasy Award and two Arthur C. Clarke awards), Miéville has now set his sights on writing a fantasy book for young adults and, by all accounts, has succeeded. In addition to a storyline that never stops pulling you forward, UN LUN DUN is supported with frightening but somehow comforting illustrations of the countless individuals who inhabit the fantasy world that the girls have entered.

While each of the characters is highly imaginative and intricately detailed, it is the sheer magnitude of them --- and their traits --- that will be daunting to the average teenager. Even adults will find themselves with pen and paper trying to sort out who's who and whether they can, or should, be trusted. It is this seemingly endless list of characters, from a tailor with a pin-cushion head to man-eating giraffes, that brings the reader into a new world in a way that only Miéville can. The imagery works as well on the older set as it does on children, thus guaranteeing UN LUN DUN a place on many bestseller lists.

Reviewed by Simon King on February 13, 2007

Un Lun Dun
by China Miéville

  • Publication Date: February 13, 2007
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-10: 0345495160
  • ISBN-13: 9780345495167