The Walled City
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher at BEA
Rating: 4 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped. 18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.
DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….
MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..
In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.
Dark and gritty, The Walled City, will make you face some serious issues. This book is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of violence and heartache. This world is cruel and unforgiving. It doesn’t matter if you are a genuinely good person. The Walled City will chew you up and spit you out.
I had read some mixed reviews on this one so I went into this book a little wary. But I had nothing to worry about. I really, really enjoyed this book. I was nervous about the three different POVs at first, because too many POVs tend to make it hard for me to connect to the characters, but each character truly has their own unique voice and even with all the head-hopping, I still felt like each one was really well-developed.
Dai, Jin and Mei Yee were all just lost kids in a cutthroat city. What I loved about each of these characters was that they didn’t allow the city to swallow them up. They wouldn’t let where they lived define who they were or limit what they could do.
Jin was definitely my favorite of the characters. She’s searching for her sister after watching their father sell her into prostitution. Jin immediately chases her into the Walled City and has survived for two years pretending to be a boy, always trying to find her. I loved that ultimate sense of loyalty and love for her sister. Because if I was in her place (thank god I’m not), I would do the same. I wouldn’t rest until my sister was found and safe. Sister relationships get me every time.
Dai was a really interesting character as well. He struggles with secrets and demons from his past. It takes a while before we really get to know him. He’s a very mysterious character early in the book. But that totally hooked me. And then once we get to know him, I just fell in love with him. He’s determined, has a big heart and truly regrets the mistakes he’s made in the past.
Mei Yee was probably the least developed of the three, but her story is the most heart-breaking. Stuck in a brothel against her will, she doesn’t have much power to fight. The things that this girl goes through are horrific and nearly brought me to tears multiple times throughout the book. But her inner strength was a thing of beauty and I admired her so much.
So aside from these awesome characters, the plot line is really good. It’s fast-paced and intriguing, not allowing you to put the book down. I blazed through this one because I had to know what was going to happen next and how it was all going to end. The journey is not easy for any of these characters and Ryan Graudin throws obstacle after obstacle at them. But their fight is one that will leave you feeling hopeful for the future.
The world-building could have been a little better, but this was really more of a character-driven story than a plot/world driven story so I didn’t mind that much. There was enough information that I felt like I had a pretty good, if not the most detailed, handle on what was going on in this world. If you want something fast-paced, character-driven and different, then I highly recommend The Walled City. I can’t wait to read more from Ryan Graudin.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Who was your favorite character?