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 Amazon.com
"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.