Sunderworld, Vol. I: The Extraordinary Disappointments of Leopold Berry

The much-anticipated new fantasy series from Ransom Riggs, his first since introducing the #1 global phenomenon Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.

Seventeen-year-old Leopold Berry is seeing weird things around Los Angeles. A man who pops a tooth into a parking meter. A glowing trapdoor in a parking lot. A half-mechanical raccoon with its tail on fire that just won’t leave him alone. Every hallucinatory moment seems plucked from a cheesy 1990s fantasy TV show called Max's Adventures in Sunderworld—and that’s because they are. 

Not a good sign.

In the blurry weeks after his mother’s death, a young Leopold discovered VHS tapes of its one and only season in a box headed for the trash—and soon became obsessed. Losing himself in Sunder was the best way to avoid two things: grieving his mother and being a chronic disappointment to his overbearing father. But when the strange visions return—at the worst possible time on the worst possible day—Leopold turns to his best friend Emmet for help. Together they discover that Sunder is much more than just an old TV show, and that Los Angeles is far stranger than they ever imagined. And soon, he’ll realize that not only is Sunderworld real, but it’s in grave danger.

Certain he’s finally been chosen for greatness, Leopold risks everything to claim his destiny, save the world of his childhood dreams, and prove once and for all that he’s not the disappointment his father believes him to be. But when everything goes terribly, horribly, excruciatingly wrong, Leopold’s disappointments prove to be more extraordinary than he ever could have imagined.

How do you battle darkness when no one believes in you—not even yourself?

Visionary storyteller Ransom Riggs weaves the familiar with the peculiar in a stunning loss, triumph, friendship and magic, reminding readers everywhere that true heroes are made, not born—and that when you’re never the chosen one, sometimes you have to choose yourself. 

Welcome to Sunderworld.
They stood on the sidewalk, hands cupped around their eyes, peering through the chain link fence. Above them loomed Angels Flight, beyond which they could make out the shadowy, weed-­fringed rise of Bunker Hill.
Leo­pold broke the silence. “We’ve been standing here a full minute. Are you going to explain why you dragged me back here?”
“Just look,” Emmet said anxiously, pointing into the gloom. “Halfway up, right side. What do you see?”
Leo­pold squinted. “Crappy apartment buildings.”
“And there.” Emmet’s arm shifted higher and to the left. “What about over there?”
“I don’t know, man, it’s pretty dark—­”
“How about a huge building with what looks like a crown on top? The US Bank Tower.”
“No.”
“Do you see any tall buildings at all?” He was gesturing toward the crest of the hill now, cloaked in a fine shroud of mist. “There should be a bunch of skyscrapers.”
“Yeah.” Leo­pold hesitated, then frowned. “I mean—­no. I don’t see any of that.”
“That’s what I’m saying. Where the hell did they go?”
Leo­pold blinked at Emmet. “What do you mean?”
“What do you mean, what do I mean?” He was getting frustrated. “They’re gone.”
Leo­pold turned to face his friend. Emmet’s eyes were wide, his expression bordering on panic. Emmet was freaking out—­and Emmet never freaked out.
“Buildings don’t just disappear,” Leo­pold said slowly.
“Great. Yeah. Let’s make a list of other obvious facts.” Emmet shot him a stony look before returning his eyes to the hill. “First: Buildings don’t just disappear. Second: I know what the downtown LA skyline is supposed to look like—­and that’s not it.”
“What are you trying to say? A minute ago you were giving me this big speech about how all this weirdness was just coincidental. Now you’re making me think my episodes are contagious.”
Emmet was shaking his head. “I realize I just spent hours telling you that what you’ve been seeing isn’t real. But I’m not seeing, like, half-­human monsters outside motels. This feels like a cosmic problem. I was born and raised in this beautiful, disgusting city, and it’s never looked like that.” He nodded toward the hill again, then took a deep breath. “There might be more than just a tiny bit of uncanny weirdness happening right now. And I need to know why.”
A snap of silent lightning split the night sky. They turned at the same time to gaze at Angels Flight.
Inside the trolley, dimly, a light was burning. For a moment, neither boy drew breath.
“Holy shit,” Leo­pold said softly.
Emmet turned to him. “You still have that token, right?”
© Tahereh Mafi
Ransom Riggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children novels. Riggs was born on a farm in Maryland and grew up in southern Florida. He studied literature at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi, and their family. View titles by Ransom Riggs

About

The much-anticipated new fantasy series from Ransom Riggs, his first since introducing the #1 global phenomenon Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.

Seventeen-year-old Leopold Berry is seeing weird things around Los Angeles. A man who pops a tooth into a parking meter. A glowing trapdoor in a parking lot. A half-mechanical raccoon with its tail on fire that just won’t leave him alone. Every hallucinatory moment seems plucked from a cheesy 1990s fantasy TV show called Max's Adventures in Sunderworld—and that’s because they are. 

Not a good sign.

In the blurry weeks after his mother’s death, a young Leopold discovered VHS tapes of its one and only season in a box headed for the trash—and soon became obsessed. Losing himself in Sunder was the best way to avoid two things: grieving his mother and being a chronic disappointment to his overbearing father. But when the strange visions return—at the worst possible time on the worst possible day—Leopold turns to his best friend Emmet for help. Together they discover that Sunder is much more than just an old TV show, and that Los Angeles is far stranger than they ever imagined. And soon, he’ll realize that not only is Sunderworld real, but it’s in grave danger.

Certain he’s finally been chosen for greatness, Leopold risks everything to claim his destiny, save the world of his childhood dreams, and prove once and for all that he’s not the disappointment his father believes him to be. But when everything goes terribly, horribly, excruciatingly wrong, Leopold’s disappointments prove to be more extraordinary than he ever could have imagined.

How do you battle darkness when no one believes in you—not even yourself?

Visionary storyteller Ransom Riggs weaves the familiar with the peculiar in a stunning loss, triumph, friendship and magic, reminding readers everywhere that true heroes are made, not born—and that when you’re never the chosen one, sometimes you have to choose yourself. 

Welcome to Sunderworld.

Excerpt

They stood on the sidewalk, hands cupped around their eyes, peering through the chain link fence. Above them loomed Angels Flight, beyond which they could make out the shadowy, weed-­fringed rise of Bunker Hill.
Leo­pold broke the silence. “We’ve been standing here a full minute. Are you going to explain why you dragged me back here?”
“Just look,” Emmet said anxiously, pointing into the gloom. “Halfway up, right side. What do you see?”
Leo­pold squinted. “Crappy apartment buildings.”
“And there.” Emmet’s arm shifted higher and to the left. “What about over there?”
“I don’t know, man, it’s pretty dark—­”
“How about a huge building with what looks like a crown on top? The US Bank Tower.”
“No.”
“Do you see any tall buildings at all?” He was gesturing toward the crest of the hill now, cloaked in a fine shroud of mist. “There should be a bunch of skyscrapers.”
“Yeah.” Leo­pold hesitated, then frowned. “I mean—­no. I don’t see any of that.”
“That’s what I’m saying. Where the hell did they go?”
Leo­pold blinked at Emmet. “What do you mean?”
“What do you mean, what do I mean?” He was getting frustrated. “They’re gone.”
Leo­pold turned to face his friend. Emmet’s eyes were wide, his expression bordering on panic. Emmet was freaking out—­and Emmet never freaked out.
“Buildings don’t just disappear,” Leo­pold said slowly.
“Great. Yeah. Let’s make a list of other obvious facts.” Emmet shot him a stony look before returning his eyes to the hill. “First: Buildings don’t just disappear. Second: I know what the downtown LA skyline is supposed to look like—­and that’s not it.”
“What are you trying to say? A minute ago you were giving me this big speech about how all this weirdness was just coincidental. Now you’re making me think my episodes are contagious.”
Emmet was shaking his head. “I realize I just spent hours telling you that what you’ve been seeing isn’t real. But I’m not seeing, like, half-­human monsters outside motels. This feels like a cosmic problem. I was born and raised in this beautiful, disgusting city, and it’s never looked like that.” He nodded toward the hill again, then took a deep breath. “There might be more than just a tiny bit of uncanny weirdness happening right now. And I need to know why.”
A snap of silent lightning split the night sky. They turned at the same time to gaze at Angels Flight.
Inside the trolley, dimly, a light was burning. For a moment, neither boy drew breath.
“Holy shit,” Leo­pold said softly.
Emmet turned to him. “You still have that token, right?”

Author

© Tahereh Mafi
Ransom Riggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children novels. Riggs was born on a farm in Maryland and grew up in southern Florida. He studied literature at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi, and their family. View titles by Ransom Riggs

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