Un Lun Dun

  • by China Mieville
  • Narrated by Karen Cass
  • 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The iron wheel began to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster. The room grew darker. As the light lessened, so did the sound.
Deeba and Zanna stared at each other in wonder. The noise of the cars and vans and motorbikes outside grew tinny.... The wheel turned off all the cars and turned off all the lamps. It was turning off London. Zanna and Deeba are two girls leading ordinary lives, until they stumble into the world of UnLondun, an urban Wonderland where all the lost and broken things of London end up... and some of its lost and broken people too. Here, discarded umbrellas stalk with spidery menace, carnivorous giraffes roam the streets, and a jungle sprawls beyond the door of an ordinary house.
UnLondun is under siege by the sinister Smog and its stink-junkie slaves; it is a city awaiting its hero. Guided by a magic book that can't quite get its facts straight, and pursued by Hemi the half-ghost boy, the girls set out to stop the poisonous cloud before it burns everything in its path. They are joined in their quest by a motley band of UnLondun locals, including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas, Obaday Fing, a couturier whose head is an enormous pincushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle.
The world of UnLondun is populated by astonishing frights and delights that will thrill the imagination.

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What the Critics Say

"Easily the equal of David Mitchell or Zadie Smith.... Miéville's work is thrillingly imaginative, politically edgy, immensely witty and utterly unforgettable.... a bold and dynamic book." (Scotland on Sunday)
"An instant classic... the bizarre, the grotesque and slightly creepy." (Daily Telegraph)
"Full of delightful and horrifying inventions.... Un Lun Dun is clever and funny but scary, too" (Observer)
"This teeming, inventive tale of friendship, duty, courage and loyalty makes extraordinary use of the ordinary." (Sunday Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Teenagers in Neverwhere but uniquely appealing

Alterative Londons, I've read a few.

Neverwhere [Neil Gaiman] and Undone [BBC Radio Series] were world definers for me but but there are others such as Sixty-One Nails [Mike Shevdon] which whilst enjoyable fell slightly flat. China Mieville's Un Lun Dun belongs in the second category.

I once was a teenage girl, and I live in London. Perhaps this is one of the many books best enjoyed as a teenager but there are many parts that appeal to the adult listener. His Un Lun Dun is comprehensible in a way that the real London isn't. There are many comic moments, and a plethora of characters with a full-range of believability.

It's well-paced and his world is involving despite a few ideas that he didn't manage to sell. I would recommend this if you enjoy the genre or if you're a teenage girl since everyone loves being the main character ;).
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- Sarah

For Children, not Young Adults

I'd like to preface by saying I'm a huge fan of China Mieville's Bas-Lag books. Perdido Street Station is one of my favourites, and Iron Council is not far behind.

However, Un-Lun-Dun was a poor listen. It's marketed as 'young adult', which is fine, but to me it read as children's book.

There are some interesting juxtapositions in this book between London and Un-Lun-Dun, some interesting images, but nothing really gripping. The plot was predictable, the characters (with the exception of Deeba) bland and two-dimensional, and the story's stakes were never really explained. The title of each chapter (each chapter must surely only be one page long) is announced at its beginning, and the title pretty much gives the game away.

If you live in London and have a child you'd like to interest in fantasy novels then this would be a great book to give them.

If you're over 16, it makes me sad to say, forget it.
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- Mr

Book Details

  • Release Date: 28-06-2012
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio