Monday, September 12, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun published in U.S. by Del Rey in Jan 2008
Author: China Miéville
Purchased personally

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday again, and I'm proud to be part of this great tradition started by Shannon Whitney Messenger promoting middle grade books.

I was browsing through Mac's Backs, a wonderful independent bookstore near us, and I happened upon Un Lun Dun without ever having heard of it before. As I very much enjoyed The City and The City, I bought the book to see if China Miéville could do as good a job with middle grade as he had with adult science fiction.

Like some wonderful mix between The Phantom Tollbooth, No Passengers Beyond This Point and Neverwhere, this book takes kids on a wonderful, somewhat scary but ultimately fantastic voyage through an abcity beneath London populated by fantastical creatures who have seeped down from London.

Filled with wordplay and incredibly imaginative characters, this should be appealing to 5th to 7th graders, as well as many older teens and adults who are willing to give it a try. While the main characters are girls, this is a book that will appeal equally to boys and girls. I would strongly recommend it.

Five stars!

Purchase a copy on
...or on

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger. She, and others frequent MMGM posters are:

Shannon Whitney Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Joanne Fritz at My Brain on Books
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Brooke Favero at somewhere in the middle
Myrna Foster at Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Kimberley Griffiths Little at Kimberley’s Wanderings
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau

If you watch those blogs today, as well as Shannon's blog, you are likely to find other great middle grade book recommendations.


  1. Ooo, this sounds so good! Thanks for sharing and will for sure check it out.

  2. I've always loved the cover of this one. Thanks for this review, Ben. This one fell off my radar, so I'm glad of the reminder. :-)

  3. I really, really wanted to love this book. As you said, it's incredibly imaginative. The places and characters of Un Lun Dun are some of the most original I have come across.

    But I had a hard time with this book and it took me a while to finish. I thought it might actually confuse some kids. There's a change of perspective after the first several chapters (a main character disappears out of the story completely) and a lot of random action.

    I'm glad you liked it, though, and I'm going to check out some of his other books b/c many of my reader friends say they liked his other work better.

  4. The switch in perspective could be confusing, though I understand why he did it. The only other book I have read of his is The City and The City (, which is a very intriguing book for grownups.

  5. Is Un Lun Dun his only book for kids? I think it might be. Perdido Street Station was recommended to me.

    I understand the change in perspective, as a matter of fact, I was glad of it because I thought the story picked up when it happened. I just think it could have been done more successfully.

  6. An interesting book with a change of perspective? This could teach me something as a writer. I'm adding it to my forever growing tbr pile.

  7. Good for you going to Indie stores. This book sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review.

  8. From adult Sf to Middle Grade? Very interesting - like the idea of creatures sinking down into an abcity beneath London.