Friday, March 30, 2007

Un Lun Dun

I just finished reading Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. It's a sci-fi/fantasy book for young readers. I would recommend it for ages 9 & up, because there is some imagery in the book that may be frightening for younger children. Also, there are several "big" words in the book that may be difficult. There is a bit of British slang used, but Mr. Mieville has been thoughtful enough to provide a small glossary at the back of the book. Also, he has kept the chapters short, most are only 4-5 pages long, so it is easy for even a slow reader to get through a chapter quickly. Below is a brief synopsis from

"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."

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very imaginative and the illustrations are wonderful! Mr. Mieville is a very talented writer, with a voice that reminds me a lot of Neil Gaiman. Apparently this is his first novel for younger readers, however he does have several other novels out that I will definitely be keeping an eye out for.

I have to say that, since the break through of the Harry Potter series, the quality of novels for the young has skyrocketed. I find myself enjoying these books far more than most of the adult novels I have read. These books seem more original & imaginative, without all the sexual tension/hangups that can cause books aimed at older audiences to falter. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for good love scenes... just not obligatory love scenes. Not every protagonist needs a love interest.

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. I am definitely giving this one to my niece.


Mary Warner said...

Sounds like an interesting book. You're right about children's books having better stories than most adult ones. I, too, think that the lack of sexual tension can be a good thing. Makes you focus more on the story. I adore Neil Gaiman's writing style. I'm hoping I can eventually get as good as he is with writing.

Joanne said...

I upgraded to IE 7 and I can comment again!!!! Yay!

Looks like a cool book.