NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
I intensely adored this while I was reading it--the language! the illustrations! the quirk! unbrellas!! a pleasing twist on your typical 'chosen one' narrative!--but it hasn't aged well. The book, while a delightful experience, is simply too derivative of everything else in the world. If I remember correctly, Mieville mentions his debt to Neil Gaiman, and oh boy is it obvious. Un Lun Dun is truly almost 'Neverwhere for kids,' so blatant are their similarities. This is most galling to me in that I know Mieville as one of the most original minds in speculative fiction--I'm sure he could have managed to lessen the similarities if he'd wanted to. The details are certainly his own--the book is full of wonder and delight and I would LOVE to read it out loud with a kid--but the big picture is not. I wonder what Gaiman thinks of it?