Two Minute Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Title: The Walled City
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: young adult, historical, fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Published: November 4 2014
Source: Book Expo America
Rating: 4/5

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.

(note, I am using the incorrect cover, because I LOVE IT)

Wow. I am so impressed by this! After having had a bad experience with the author's debut in another genre and, in particular, its overabundance of unwieldy purple metaphors, I was leery of trying The Walled City. But Kara from Great Imaginations knew about Kowloon, the factual place that inspired the setting for this novel and her knowledge fed my curiosity. I am glad I listened because outside of a few side-eye worthy descriptions, The Walled City was really, really good and it was really, really fun to read.

It was a story that had action, it had heart, and it also had some interesting and well-rendered characters. But what The Walled City really had going for it was a real sense of history and the enveloping atmosphere that the story and characters evoke for the reader. It was a rich, engaging reading experience. I also loved that this book promoted connections and bonds besides those that are purely romantic in nature -- familial love plays a key role for the two female narrator, though there is a romance between one female narrator and a male character to be had as well.

The Walled City is a good action novel. It's one of those rare standalones that are worthy and deserving of a sequel to either expand on the story here or start a new one in the same place. Hak Nam is a terrifying, dangerous place, but Ryan Graudin makes it so damn fun to read about that I would willingly sign on for any further extension of time/story in this world. 

1 comment:

  1. I am really hit or miss on if I want to read this one. I've seen mixed things but so happy it exceeded your expectations and you enjoyed it!


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