I was provided with an ARC of this title by Little Brown & NetGalley
in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to both for the opportunity!
The Walled City is an exhilarating tale of three lives that are brought together in the harshest of circumstances, as they are forced to rely on each other to break free of the confines of the walls they live in, both physical and emotional. One sister risking it all to find the other sister who’s fighting a losing battle, and a mysterious street boy fighting his own demons for salvation. Each character is separate and unique from the other yet their three stories blend together seamlessly.
Images from Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City Pinterest board — Click image for more.
At first, the stories of our main characters, Jin, Mei Yee and Dai, seem so removed from one another but we soon find that they are also undeniably tied together. I’m normally not a fan of multiple POVs, but Graudin made sure to give each narrator its own distinct voice and I appreciated seeing this story from its different perspectives. It added to the depth and emotion of the struggles each character was facing, while also filling in the gaps and giving the reader a deeper understanding. As the novel progresses all three narrators find themselves more involved in each others destinies and by the end it really feels as though these once individual people were never separate at all. I loved how Graudin slowly developed the relationship between one set of characters, but then super charged another. It came off as authentic and true to the story of people being faced with unforgiving circumstances and the need to do whatever it takes to escape.
I think one of my favorite parts of this book was discovering that the Walled City, which is essentially its own character, is actually based on a real location. Kowloon’s Walled City, a shanty town in Hong Kong that was overrun with crime, prostitution and drugs, acted as the inspiration for this novel. Graudin took this inspiration and ran with it, because once you start reading you’ll get drawn right into the dark and gritty realism of a life lived behind the walls.
Graudin’s writing is exquisite and powerful, adding even more intensity to the emotion of the story. She paints a vivid picture of life within the walled city, which allowed me as a reader to really connect with each character and understand why they made the decisions they did. Jin, Mei Yee and Dai live in an extremely dangerous world and Graudin’s talent for allowing her writing to still be beautiful and haunting while describing these horrific circumstances is pretty impressive!
This book is perfect for readers who enjoy Dystopian novels because, even though it doesn’t take place in a dystopian world, it still has those elements of survival, danger and desperation. I also think people who enjoy character driven novels with really appreciate this book since the development of all three main characters is so well though out and robust. Whatever type of book you prefer, I strongly recommend The Walled City for its emotion, gorgeous writing and non-stop action.
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Publication: 11/4/14 by Little, Brown
Pages: 432 | Format: eGalley
Pre-order this book
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.