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Un Lun Dun

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  16,846 ratings  ·  1,791 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by Del Rey
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,846 ratings  ·  1,791 reviews


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Nataliya
If (for whatever strange reason) you ever wondered what a love child of "Alice in Wonderland" and Gaiman's "Neverwhere" would look like if it were raised by the Master of Weird - well, say hello to Un Lun Dun.
'I know you're not a sidekick.'
'No one is!' Deeba shouted. 'That's no way to talk about anyone! To say they're just hangers-on to someone more important.
'
This is an ode to all the sidekicks out there, those who were 'destined' to be on the sidelines, to be the 'funny one' or 'brainy one' o
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Stephen
Photobucket

Let me begin this sadly negative review by saying that I think China Mieville is one of the BEST writers working today. To put it simply…he is THE MAN!! Unfortunately, and it pains me to say, he is THE MAN in this case that wrote a really shitty book. It happens to the best of artists at some point in their career. Al Pacino did Author, Author, Steven Spielberg did Always and even Will Ferrell did Bewitched. Well, I must report that this is Mr. Mieville’s Ishtar, sans Dustin Hoffman and Warren
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unknown
For the second book in a row, China Miéville's writing has reminded me of nothing so much as one of Stefon's drug-fueled gay fantasies:


UnLondon's hottest club is Smog. This place has everything: naked ghosts, balloon zombies, sentient pollution, buses with lizard feet, spider windows, ninja R2D2s. You know that thing where a trash can has been trained in the martial arts?

---

This year it was my goal to read 100 books. Which I have accomplished with several weeks to spare!

Number one, read in Janua
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Phrynne
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
One star off for making this too long Mr Mielville. Towards the end I felt tired and just wanted it to finish despite the fact that I did enjoy the book. The best books are the ones that finish and leave you wanting more. This did not do that! In many ways I was reminded of reading The Golden Compass which meandered along from one danger to another in similar fashion to the point where danger became tedious instead of suspenseful.
Anyway enough of what I did not like and more about what I did. I
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Megan Baxter
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What is it about London that makes it the prime place to create another world, not hidden in the shadows, but accessible through secret passageways that tend to close tight behind those who stumble in? Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere jumps to mind, which China Mieville (I don't know how to do the accents!) credits as an inspiration, and now Un Lun Dun.

Although I guess the other example that I can think of, J. Michael Straczynski's Midnight Nation, is set in the States. Never mind. And in this book, UnL
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mark monday
from English* to Tagalog to Hungarian to Esperanto to Chinese... and back to English again!

It is quite a challenge in front of me, I also played its ideas. Children's Literature in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland, but not for me. I do not usually a fan of fun and good times and random stupidity, I'm not really a fan of word games. I like the rules and logic of literature and children's literature is no exception. Almost stimulate me whiny, uninteresting characters. It really grated. But the
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Nandakishore Varma
Warning: mild spoilers

When it comes to creating weird worlds, there is none to beat China Mieville.

One only has to look at Perdido Street Station, where weird beings from various mythologies join together in a strange world to create a socially incendiary cocktail. However, that novel was rather thin on story, and none of the characters were actually likeable. But in this book, which is meant for young readers, Mieville has overcome the failing on the story front: it contains a story rattling al
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Michael
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book, I thought to myself "oh lord, I hope this isn't another _Neverwhere_". I liked Gaiman's novel just fine, but I had in my hand ANOTHER urban fantasy, with a Dave McKean-esque cover, and I didn't think that I could handle it.

Kudos to Mieville for taking my worries and drop-kicking them into the ocean.

There's so much to like about this novel. The protagonist isn't who it seems at first. The level of imagination is astounding (quirky, gentle, but with a definite Mieville fl
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Catie
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2011, ya
Wow. How do I describe this book? It’s on the one hand a bit of an ode to all of the quest based, parallel world containing fantasies that have come before: The Wizard of Oz, Narnia, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, most of Neil Gaiman’s catalogue, hell even Harry Potter. On the other hand, it undermines the typical tenets of these books in a way that’s a bit of a fuck you to the whole genre. It also manages to transcend both of these things and become a decent quest based, parallel world cont ...more
Jonathan Peto
As I came to the end of Un Lun Dun, I decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to make this story into a script for an animation movie. Maybe I'll Google it and see if anyone owns the rights. It would be a lot of fun, I think, to pare this novel's fantastical events, curious assortment of characters, and diverse settings into a two-hour movie. Not that I'm a movie-maker, I'm just saying there would be a lot to work with.

The story is a wonderful adventure written for children and a
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Robert
Dec 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am not sure what to make of this book or its author.
Considerable time is spent attacking cliches of the fantasy genre, yet Mieville's Unlondon is acknowledged as derivative of Gaiman's Neverwhere. Isn't being obviously derivative of your predecessors both a cliche and the worst crime of the fantasy genre? (I give credit for open admission of the debt, though.)

One of the cliches attacked is that of the the Protagonist with a Heroic Destiny (PHD). Fairy Nuff, but you can see the attack coming fr
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Michael
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
The thing I DON'T like about reviewing books from my very favorite authors is that I always find myself praising the same things like a broken record. So, by the time I'm writing a fourth review for an author, I barely talk about the book at all, and instead keep myself entertained by writing something ridiculous. (See my review of Blood Meridian, which I would link to if I weren't technologically handicapped.)

So let's get the boring part out of the way right now: in this book, Mieville is ever
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Ivan
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A year late review but my impressions didn't fade, that is why this books is on my favorites shelf.I read Mieville's book recently, and ended thinking about his other works and decided to write something about this book too.Of course one might argue that I am doing it only because if I didn't I would be cleaning house, getting ready for work and other adult stuff I avoid doing.Yeah I suck at being adult.

If you haven't read Mieville's books before I would describe Un Lun Dun as Alice in Neverwher
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Trin
A sort of kiddie Neverwhere (and Miéville does indeed credit Neil Gaiman in the intro), this is one of those books that’s packed with cleverness—and really, really aware of it. I like some of Miéville’s attempts to turn the typical quest-y fantasy on its ear—The Chosen One turns out to be fairly useless! The “tasks” one must complete to defeat the bad guy are highly skippable!—but UnLondon never felt like a real place to me, or its denizens real people. I’m still really not sure who Deeba was ...more
Amber
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Hyao Miyazaki, Clive Barker's Thief of Always and fantasy fans
What do you get if you cross one of Hyao Miyazaki's animated films with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, the imagination of Clive Barker, and Alice in Wonderland? You get this book: Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. When young friends Zanna and Deeba follow a broken umbrella down to a sewer with a steering wheel, they turn it and enter the world of Un Lun Dun. Un Lun Dun (or UnLondon) is an urban wonderland where things that are thrown away in regular london are found and given a new purpose there. Upon en ...more
Susan
May 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: YA readers looking for sci-fi
Shelves: ya
A poor man's Neverwhere. I'll admit that I stopped reading after 115 pages.

I read several glowing reviews of this, saying it was going to rescue us in this, the time of no-more-harry-potter. And lookee! It has female protagonists! But no. A typical adventure/sci-fi premise: someone from our world gets transported to a different world and must save something/do a quest.
a) It is, at least in the first 115 pages, entirely plot-driven. I know nothing about what separates the two main characters fr
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Chris
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I expected when I picked this up for a group read, but it certainly wasn't what I got. This was like a blending of different things. Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (which the author admitted to having inspired him) for its setting in an alternate London hidden from the regular one. Rowling's Harry Potter for the whole way the London children are discovering this world within our world, full of magic and wonder, as well as a double decker bus that has unusual properties. There was als ...more
Arielle Walker
3.75 stars

My first introduction to Miéville's writing was Railsea. I had an almost instant reaction to it (confusion, frustration, amazement) that only grew stronger as the story progressed (and changed into shock, awe and adoration, and finished with the literary equivalent of being hit on the head with a shovel). Un Lun Dun disappointed me for the supremely unfair (on my behalf) reason that it didn't draw much of a reaction from me.

I think that where YA and children's books are concerned, ther
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Terence
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I wasn't sure whether or not to give this book a 3 or a 4 (if we had a more refined rating system, I'd give it a 3.7/3.8) because it started out a bit slow but as soon as Mieville focused on Deeba, the story picked up its pace and became much more interesting.

Short plot outline (which doesn't contain spoilers): Like many young-adult & adult fantasies, there's another version of London (and the world) that exists just "around the corner" or in between the stacks in a library that it's sometim
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colleen the convivial curmudgeon
(Maybe more sort of 2.5)

I was excited about the premise of this story. I like 'Wonderland' type stories, especially Gaiman's Neverwhere, which Mieville does specifically mention as being an influence. But this story never really got above "alright" for me.

Part of the problem was that I never really clicked with or cared that much about the characters. I liked the role of Deeba at first - the friend who reluctantly gets dragged into an adventure - but I never really clicked with her as a person.
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J.P.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If there was an award given for most imagination used in a novel, China Miéville would have more trophies than he would know what to do with.
The man really outdoes himself in this one as he introduces a multitude of fascinating characters who are to say the least rather unusual. A man with a bird in a cage for a head, no-nonsense garbage cans wielding nunchucks appropriately called binjas, and the creepy black windows of Webminster Abbey, just to name a few.
The comparison to Alice in Wonderland
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Nikki
Un Lun Dun, by China Miéville, is about the underside of London. The forgotten parts. So far, so very Neverwhere, I thought, at first. But actually, Un Lun Dun is a different kind of book. Cleverer, in that it twists fantasy clichés ("the UnChosen one" being the biggest example), quirkier (I didn't see a living milk carton called Curdle, or living ninja bins, binja, in Neverwhere!), and lighter. It's definitely aimed at younger people, and actually, I think China Miéville does a good job of it. ...more
Frances
This was great! A gritty, Pratchetty, deceptive, in control Dorothy type fairy tale with a satisfying end. Only my second Miéville but I want to read everything he's written right now. Review to come
The Flooze
*3.5*

Miéville’s creation of an alternate London existing just beyond a veil is not unique. We’ve seen many similar places across the urban fantasy landscape - the most frequent comparison being Gaiman’s Neverwhere - where ideas, people, and things cross from side to side, each location influencing the trajectory of the other. When dealing with this trope, it’s not the generalizations that are important but the details: Do we believe this place exists? Do we care about the residents? Do we wish w
...more
Robert Beveridge
China Mieville, Un Lun Dun (Ballantine, 2007)

I have written many times (more than I can count, certainly) about the dangers of message fiction. Chief among them is that the author gets so wrapped up in the message that he forgets he's first and foremost supposed to tell a story. When I realized that Un Lun Dun, China Mieville's first childrens' book, was of the “message fiction” stripe, I quailed in despair, thinking I might have encountered my first Mieville book (and I've read 'em all) I wasn'
...more
Chris
Apr 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A young girl in London is visited by strange people who seem to know her. They call her the Schwazzy and mysterious graffiti seems to imply that young Zannah is a mysterious savior-in-waiting. There's a mysterious world, unknown to most people, and only she can save them!

This is pretty much how the book begins. At this point, I found myself thinking, "How long will it be before people can read something like this without thinking of Harry Potter?" I mean, the whole displaced child-messiah thing
...more
Daniel
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China Miéville
Un Lun Dun
Del Rey
470 pages
8.0

In "Un Lun Dun"'s acknowledgment page, Miéville specifically thanks Neil Gaiman for "generous encouragement and for his indispensable contributions to London phantasmagoria, especially "Neverwhere". "Un Lun Dun"'s resemblance with "Neverwhere" is undeniable. Both take place in the hidden City of Adventure of London, with a fascinating worldbuilding and obscure creatures. I haven't read the whole "Neverwhere"--I first borrowed it from my friend back whe
...more
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was a little worried by the fact that Mieville's latest is a foray into "children's" fiction, but I needn't have. This is an excellent book, and destined to be a classic of young people's fiction. It really is that good.
It does owe a definite debt (acknowledged) to Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' - and it also reminded me of The Phantom Tollbooth (which comparison I am not positive is completely relevant, since I haven't read that since I was a kid) - but I got a similar feeling from it.

Pretty, blo
...more
Cherie
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
For much of this story I felt like I was back reading about Gregor and his Overlander stories.

I am not saying that I disliked the story. I think the author must have spend a tremendous amount of time thinking up the place and plot and characters for this book. I honestly liked some of Zanth like play on words. How about Manifest Station for the bus/train/subway station?
I loved the trashcan ninjas called binjas. A milk carton pet called Curdle made me smile. Some of the characters were very amusi
...more
Ross Lockhart
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Un Lun Dun is the sort of book that promises the staying power of a classic. Though intended for young readers, Un Lun Dun can be enjoyed by adults as well, and Miéville does an excellent job of setting up, and then thwarting, the clichés and expectations inherent in YA quest motifs, from the idea of a “chosen one” to the intricacies of the quests themselves. At times, Un Lun Dun is reminiscent of the linguistically-playful tone of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth or Madeline L’Engle’s A Wr ...more
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A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist W ...more
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“My dad hates umbrellas, said Deeba, swinging her own. When it rains he always says the same thing. 'I do not believe the presence of moisture in the air is sufficient reason to overturn society's usual sensible taboo against wielding spiked clubs at eye level.” 83 likes
“The dead are way more organized than the living.” 82 likes
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