Un Lun Dun [NOOK Book]


BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mieville’s Embassytown.

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 ...
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Un Lun Dun

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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mieville’s Embassytown.

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.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
By every indication, Zanna seems to be the Chosen One, the girl who is destined to set things in order and lift the evil smog. Even foxes and umbrellas pay her tribute. So when Zanna and her friend Deeba are magically transported to another realm, Un Lun Dun seems headed toward the moment of her triumph. But then, as readers of China Miéville may have already suspected, things happen that were not mentioned in prophecy -- and suddenly, 12-year-old Deeba is thrust into a world-saving situation.
Michael Sims
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. Miéville is acclaimed for adult novels such as King Rat. In his first book for a younger audience, he provides verbal paradoxes worthy of Norton Juster's Phantom Tollbooth and humor reminiscent of, if not quite equal to, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Miéville's heroine, young Deeba, proves a courageous and resourceful companion -- exactly what we need in a tale of nonstop adventure.
— The Washington Post
Dave Itzkoff
…one of the most imaginative young adult novels of the post-Potter era. [Mieville's] "UnLondon," discovered in the book by two schoolgirl heroines named Zanna and Deeba, is a tempting, carefully plotted rebellion against the cotton-candy elsewheres offered up by most children's novels…Beyond its abundant charms, Un Lun Dun never misses an opportunity to undermine the tiresome plot devices and tedious moralizing of traditional fantasy…Most of all, Un Lun Dun is the work of an author fascinated by language, and one who rewards any reader who cares about it half as much as Mieville does.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

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, isthe Shwazzy (choisior "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. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Joe Sutliff Sanders
Two London girls have discovered a secret: If one climbs the right bookcase, twists the right handle, and follows the right umbrella, one can slip into the dark shadow of London, into the city where lost gloves and useless typewriters take a second shot at life. There Zanna and Deeba meet a half-ghost, a conductor of more than public transport, and the oddest tailor ever. Together they will face one of London's forgotten monsters, a creature that has spent decades nursing its hatred. To save London, these girls will have to fight for its twisted mirror image: Unlondon. At a time when the market is glutted with rehashes of fair, young, chosen ones marching to victory, each of them guaranteed success by reassuring, vaguely narcissistic prophecies, this accomplished author's first young adult novel is a wonderful surprise. Instead of minting kings or saviors, Mieville imagines a tween who wins because she outthinks prophecy. The novel is stuffed with imagination, and its vivid, tangible setting is patrolled by bizarre, even funny monsters. The creatures and puzzles represent serious challenges, and success over them always has a cost. The climactic scenes are rendered with real gravity; although the solutions to the friends' struggles are always within the logic of the magical world, things look very hopeless indeed right up to the moment of victory. The plot is driven by the threat of becoming one more forgotten thing in the eclectic streets of Unlondon, but the tone is brightened by the small kindnesses and sincere friendships forged amidst-and sometimes with-the rubbish. The result is a dark, charming, robust, comical adventure played according to new rules.
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Twelve-year-old Deeba never imagined where she would end up the night she accompanied her best friend, Zanna, into the basement of the housing complex. But things had been getting stranger and stranger for her friend, with wild animals bowing to her, total strangers greeting her with reverence, and her name showing up in bridge graffiti. With the turn of a wheel Zanna and Deeba are transported to a fantastical world made up of all the things that are broken or discarded by the inhabitants of their former hometown, London; it is the shadow city, unLondon, where none of the rules of their previous lives apply. Animate milk cartons become pets, specially trained rubbish bins are soldiers, double-decker buses fly, words become creatures, and people dress in clothes made from the pages of books. Your best friends may not be fully human, like half-ghost-half-boy Hemi. Although Zanna is the Chosen One described in the prophecy book, the Smog has stolen her memory and it is left to Deeba to save unLondon from being taken over by evil forces. In his first young adult novel, Mieville creates a wildly imaginative setting and story on a par with Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series. This hefty work has a serious message about pollution and the mindset of disposability, but it's also a good adventure—with intrepid young male and female protagonists—that will appeal to fantasy fans of both genders.
Library Journal
Though it's being marketed as a YA title, Mieville'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. Mieville 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.)-Narl G. Siewart, Hardesty Regional Lib., Tulsa Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"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 YA novels TITHE and VALIANT

“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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345497239
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 147,140
  • Age range: 10 years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

China Mieville
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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt


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.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    An Unusual Book That, Like Cheese and Wine, Gets Better With Time

    This is one of hose books that can be read over and over again. In fact, it gets better the more you read it. At first I was not sure if I would finish it it was certainly weird, and being introduced to the plot and the concepts of Un Lun Dun for the first time got to me. I stuck with it, thought, and after I reached the interlude, I thought it might have improved. The books gets better as you go on, and though I would not say it is a favorite, I hope the author would write more on the area using the same characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014


    But jay and Moth would be beter

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014


    I really liked it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014


    <p> - S. S. P and Farther -

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014


    Is she having kits oo &#9833&#9834&#9835 Kat

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Chapter One ~ Dove & Jay

    {So, this is set during the time in the Omen of the Stars books, probably in Fading Echos or something. It's hard to be perfectly accurate for these kinds of stories, but, meh. Also, feel free to comment on it! Just, none of those hater people, kay? You didn't have to click on this story.}

    "Come in." Jayfeather sensed Dovepaw entering the medicine cat den.
    "I need you to treat this cut I have." She meowed. "I got it when - when we were putting on a new layer of brambles."
    The young medicine cat began to search for the proper herbs in his store, nodding as she spoke. "And, where is this cut?"
    Dovewing shifted her paws. "It's here." Jayfeather heard her lift a leg, showing a fresh cut that the blind cat could smell all the way across the den. He walked forward to inspect it. It was located on the inside of her right leg, and when Jay sniffed it, his whiskers brushed her...how could he put it? ...female parts.
    He felt her shiver, but he ignored this and started to treat it. It was a very deep cut, almost as if -
    "This couldn't have been brambles." Jayfeather said, looking up. "A cut this deep and so perfect points to one thing. You didn't do this on purpose, did you?" His voice was full of shaky disbelief. He had been suspecting something over the past few times she'd come in. Now it was right in front of his nose - Dovepaw wanted him to look down there.
    "Jayfeather...it's like this - I...I...I have this sort of feeling. Like, whenever I'm touched...d-d-down there...it bubbles inside me...and...I also have cravings for it. Is there some sort of herb for this? Something?"
    Jayfeather swallowed. "Dove...It's called being...'horn<_>y.' It happens when you crave...se<_>x."
    Dovepaw looked up, blushing under her fur. "That's like what Graystripe and Millie were doing, right? Cats do it to feel good?"
    Jayfeather nodded. "Yes. No herb can fix it."
    "Is there something you can do for me? Just so it's not bothering me?"
    Jay's eyes widened. "Dove! I can't - "
    "Please?" The apprentice begged.
    "Fine. Just a bit. But we can't let anyone else see us." Jayfeather nudged her to the dark corner. "Just a bit of touching, then you clean up and go off on your way."
    "You'll see. Open your legs for me, okay?" She did as she was told and Jayfeather began to softly stroke her cl<_>it, his paws feeling around, becoming the eyes he didn't have. She grew excited. "Ohh! Oh! That's the best thing I've ever - "
    Her cries of joy stopped short as Jayfeather mounted her and thrust his di<_>ck through her tight, vir<_>gin pus<_<sy.
    "Agh! It hurts!" Dovepaw yelped, trying to be quiet but filled with pain. Jayfeather quieted her by going soft and slow, creating a gentle pattern. Up. In. Down. Out.
    She stopped, moaning as her quivering body was rocked back and forth. Shattering through her, Jayfeather went faster, filled with the urge to impre<_>gnate her. He felt so good, he just wanted to keep going and going.
    Dovepaw moaned softly, her tense body eventually relaxing and spilling her juices around Jay's di<_>ck, coating it and mixing with his own. Jayfeather smiled to himself. For such a small apprentice, she had quite a bit of that inside her.
    He pumped faster, letting the tip of his co<_>ck grind against her pus<_>sy walls, his ball sac slapping against her cl<_>it. "Agh! Ye-eh-eees!" She screeched, orga<_>sming as she did so.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013


    One of the best books i have read. Great book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    He does

    Again. Great steampunk adventure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012


    <3 this book. Kind of aliceish but better written and more info.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Good stuff.

    If you liked Spirited Away, it's a safe bet you'll like this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    A wonderful read filled with odd imagery.

    The setting is a bit of an urban Wonderland in this fantastic tale. Both the characters and the plot evolve in unsuspected ways. If you're a fan of Gaiman, Peter Beagle, or Miyuki Miyabe, you'll enjoy this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Amazing book!

    This book turns a boring topic like keeping the earth clean and recycling into a strange, captivating, and wonderfully made book. It is soooo worth the money. I recomend it for ages 12+

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    A Creative and Original Work in the Vein of "Alice in Wonderland" and "Wizard of Oz"

    This book was one of my favorites and every time I read it I discover something new. This format is nice for retaining the authors original illustrations, which help to tell a large part of the story. I would recomend this book for children as well as adults

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    The sun

    This book makes me look at the sun everywhere i go! OUCH!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011


    One of my absolute favorites. I made all my friends read it, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2011

    Just Bought It

    I just started thiss book, but it already sounds. amd sees interesting. =]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2007


    This is one of the best books I have read this year! The way the characters are discribed inspired me to draw my own Utterlings. I loved the way it felt like I was there, wartching the whole thing! I would hope everyone enjoyed reading this as much as I have.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Cross Alice Threw The Looking Glass with the Xanth series

    London is connected to Un Lun Dun through a variety of ways including climbing up the shelves of a library to turning on a tap. Deeba and Zanna know nothing about this other realm until they find a way of reaching it. When she arrives there Zanna is welcomed as the chosen to defeat the very sentient smog. Unfortunately, she is knocked unconscious when she inhales it. To the rescue comes Brokenbroll, Un Lun Dun¿s greatest defender with umbrellas that blow away the smog. His friend Instable is working on a method of getting rid of the sentient smug paranormally.-------------------- Zanna recovers and she and Deena are sent home to their world. Zanna has no memory of all the wonders and trials and tribulations she experienced. Deeba remembers and returns to Un Lun Dun where she finds her sentient milk carton Curdle waiting for her. The smog is spreading and growing more powerful and it is now up to Deeba to find a way to stop it. A sentient book says the only thing the fog is afraid of is the UnGun so she and her allies go to Webminster Abbey where they fight horrible monsters guarding the weapon. If she doesn¿t find it then Un Lun Dun will be a city of slaves to the smog.----------------------- Cross Alice Threw The Looking Glass with the Xanth series and reader will have some idea of what Un Lun Dun is all about. Written for a young adult audience, it will be enjoyed by adults who find the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter charming reading experiences. The heroine is a very special young lady with the heart of a warrior and the dedication of Mother Teresa. The characters are very special and unusual including sentient umbrellas and words made incarnate.------------ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews

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