Wednesday, April 22, 2015

REVIEW: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
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.

I picked up this book, expecting a dystopian, but while this book had dystopian elements, this book is incredibly realistic. And I loved it!

This book takes place in a walled city, obviously, full of crime and poverty. It's a horrible place to live, but many find home there. Dai has been sentenced here after a horrible mistake and his time is running out. He finds help in a running boy named Jin. Jin has sneaked into the walled city to find her city and described herself as a boy to survive. She knows she's close to finding her. And, last, Mei Yee was sold by her father to a brothel in the walled city. Mei Yee dreams of escaping this life, back to her sister, but it doesn't seem possible until she sees a boy at her window...

Apparently, this book was based on a true city that once existed. Now, the city in this book is completely fictional, but it's obvious that the author did her research. She was able to fully create this world so vividly that I felt like I was in this horrid world. The realistic grittiness of this book only gave it more of a unique thriller vibe, which I really enjoyed.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the interactions of the characters. Trust is hard here, so no one knows who anyone else really is. Everything becomes this weird complicated game that is actually very interesting to see. I can't really explain the interactions very well, but let me just say that basically, the three main characters that we see perspectives from all are connected to one another, but they just don't know it. This only adds excitement and suspense to the book because you just can't wait for everything to come together.

Another great thing about this book: there's no romance. This book entirely focuses on the amazing plot.

Now, I loved so much about this book, but I did have a few minor issues. For one, I was confused by why Dai was in the walled city, it was explained but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. The other thing is that I kind of wish I knew more about the world outside the city.

This was a very fast-paced, thriller, and surprisingly realistic read! I read this entire book in just one sitting! This was a brilliant standalone and I definitely recommend it! I'm not going to have to look into more books from this author!

I hereby give this book
4 Wheels
Meaning: It was amazing!


  1. I have read a couple of reviews for this one. I am curious about it for sure. I like that it is based on a real Chinese city. The only reason I am being gun shy is because of the violence. I have to be in the right frame of mind.

  2. Ooooh this sounds super intriguing. I love books that have plots that fall together in the end, if that makes sense.
    I'll have to bump this book up on my TBR list. Great review!