The Walled City

Title: The Walled City
Author: Ryan Graudin
Published: November 4th, 2014
My Rating: 4 stars/5 

Synopsis730. 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…..

My thoughts from the Vault

I picked up this book on a whim, having not heard anything about it. For a YA novel, I found this novel had quite a heavy theme to it, though I still found it to be an enjoyable read. Switching between three characters, it gives the reader a broad view of the world and how it runs. 

With the city overrun with crime, drugs and brothels, being a female is not an option. The females work in brothels and that is where they will stay. We are shown in the book what happens to girls who try to escape from the brothel where Mei Yee works when they fail and it is not pretty. 

Jin is forced to hide her identity as a female to ensure survival. Pass as a male, run fast and always carry a knife. Those are Jin’s only rules for survival and so far it has been working for her. But all she can think about is finding her sister and saving her.

Dai, trying to escape problems from his past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless drug lord in the city. With the promise of a free life outside the walled city hanging over his head, Dai will do nearly anything to achieve his goal. 

Though it is never explicitly stated, the city is clearly in China and is loosely based off of a city that existed in China in 1898. Graudin brings in Chinese heritage and culture into this book. The world building was fantastic and I could easily envision the city around the characters. 

I enjoyed the characters in this book and found them to be convincing. It is easy for characters in novels such as this to be inconceivable but did not find this to be the case with this book. My only fault with this book was the easy love that came to be. I am of the belief that not all stories need to include a love story, and was slightly disappointed when one showed up. Thankfully the story didn’t revolve around the love story so it didn’t lose too many points in my books. I enjoyed this novel and it is going in the vault. 

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