Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
I was looking around for a China Mieville book to try and discovered for every enthusiastic review I'd see another saying the exact opposite. This was the only exception, which is his only book for younger readers. I dipped into it this weekend and found it almost impossible to put down.
Thus far I am really enjoying this book. Although any modern book with "another London" inevitably calls Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman to mind (whom Mieville tips his hat to at the beginning), this feels original and is definitely inventive. For example, Curdle is an adorable character and I wouldn't have credited the concept alone with making for a loving relationship as is obviously developing in the book.
About halfway through and am finding it still interesting but strangely slow at the same time. Not sure if this is an editing problem or just how the author writes but he seems to go on and on when we've gotten the point and are ready to move on. Also, major plot points are telegraphed ahead of time so the "twists" aren't really "twisty" at all.
I would say that last problem is possibly because I'm an older reader than the intended audience but, upon reflection, this isn't a problem I have had with the Harry Potter books, The Graveyard Game by Neil Gaiman, or Assam & Darjeeling by T.M. Camp ... all of which feature children in fantastical settings, to greater or lesser degrees of simplicity.
I will continue reading but feel this could have used another time or two through a big trimming machine.