Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: November 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Thriller
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Dai, Jin and Mei are all teens trying to escape the Walled City, a vastly populated yet compact area. Their lives are not their own as they each search for redemption and a way out.
Gripping. The Walled City is a book I began to read and looked at the clock only to find an hour had gone by already. Mei, Jin and Dai each had a unique and heartbreaking story. Each narrative grips you, dragging you through their drama and trials, through narrow dirty streets and slums, brothels and alleys. The setting is so powerful, I had to look up pictures and articles of the real Walled City to try to understand the power the environment had on the characters.
It was unreal. (I suggest you look at pictures of the real Walled City as it will enhance your reading experience.)
There are uncomfortable sections in the book, mostly sad and heartbreaking. Everything happening inside the brothel with young Mei made my stomach turn. This book is probably not for young YA readers or readers who are sensitive in nature. There is drugs, addiction used as a means of power, human trafficking and prostitution. And Dai and Jin on the outside are easy to root for, hoping every step of the way they get what each of them came for and leave as fast as they can.
The plot moves quickly and the change in narrative is welcomed. It’s fun to see what each character is experiencing as they are each in very different places. Sadly, I wasn’t blown away by any of the individual voices. Dai and Jin are similar in tone and speech and while Mei is a bit softer, I never got a strong sense of them being individual voices.
Overall, I think The Walled City is a strong, thrilling book that holds readers. Fans who like fast stories, twists and survival will eat up this engrossing book. And it enlightened me to the real Walled City, which was destroyed over a decade ago.
Rating 7 Would Recommend