Monday, February 16, 2015

Topian Reviews on The Walled City By Ryan Graudin

The Walled CityThe Walled City by Ryan Graudin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Walled City had a brilliant and extraordinary plot. The tagline, "There are three rules to the Walled City. Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run", is what got my attention and made me want to read the book that much more.

Told from three different perspectives it follows a girl, Jin, disguising herself as a boy in order to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, the lost sister that was sold to a brother by her own father, and Jin, the boy who is trying to redeem himself. They are in a place known The Walled City, a filthy, dirty, and dangerous world. I really liked how different each character was even though I am not the biggest fan of multiple POVs.

I have to admit though… the book slightly bored me. There wasn't enough romance (more like the book hinted the romance but really didn’t show it) and character depth was quite bland, they explained their situations but I could not feel the feeling behind the stories. I know all three have it tough, but I felt that an emotional connection between the reader and the characters was lacking, and at time non-exist. I do love how Graudin created this Chinese inspired dystopian world after hearing about the real walled city. I'm all for diverse cultural characters and settings. I wish we got to know more people outside of these three, for example hearing Kuan’s story would have been interesting being a small gang leader. I also love the gender bender theme in The Walled City, with Jin disguising herself as a guy, but I wish Graudin played more with the idea, used it to better the book. It just seemed as a convenient placement in the book to allow Jin to search for her sister and keep herself out of a bad situation; I wish it had more of a purpose.

The action scenes though, especially the fight, were fantastic, especially Jin and her quick thinking and smart execution. I really did like Jin and wished she led the show. I would look forward to her chapters as opposed to Mei Yee… who I somehow didn't really like or care for. One thing to note is that Graudin painted a harsh world, but it was very realistic. I dislike how sometimes YA books gloss horrific events and situations in our world and I appreciated Graudin for not shying away from giving us as realistic of a picture as possible. I did end up liking The Walled City; I just wish I liked it more. My emotional disconnection with the characters was the main reason why I didn't enjoy it. So if you think you could connect with these characters, then I suggest you pick up The Walled City.

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