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.
The Walled City was a surprising read for me. It honestly wasn’t really on my radar until we went to BEA and a few of my friends were dying to get their hands on it. After reading the summary, I was completely intrigued with the idea of this story.
The Walled City introduces us to two unlikely lead characters who connect because they need each other. Dai, with a past that haunts him has been trapped in The Walled City and has only 18 days to get certain information or else he’ll never be able to get out. Jin, hides herself under the guise of being a boy… and is determined never to rely upon anyone. She’s been searching for her sister and has narrowed down where she thinks she is, but her only way in may be working with Dai.
Mei Yee is the sister that Jin has been searching for, and as much as she dreams of a day when she might be free of the life that she has been forced into, she knows that’s all it truly is.
If you go into this story expecting it to be just like any other YA out there you’re going to be disappointed… but in the best way possible. The focus on this story truly falls on the predicaments of each of these characters who become tied together in ways they never expected.
I hate that I have to say this, but if you’re looking for more diversity in books, then look no further. This story is filled with diverse characters and a city that you can’t help but be immersed into. Going into this story I wasn’t aware of the actual “Walled City”. Yes, this story is based on a real city and you can read all about Graudin’s inspiration in her author notes at the end of the story, but I googled it once I finished and it was so incredible to see the pictures that really helped me in visualizing this city that was overrun by gangs and lawlessness.
Which leads me to the world-building, which for me, ended up being the best part of the story for me. I loved the detail that Graudin used and the way she built The Walled City. She really brought me into the city and culture.
The story itself is told from all three characters points of view… I feel like the best progression and the one that had the most action and interest for me was Jin’s story. I really loved seeing what was happening in her point of view. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the others, I did. Especially Dai, but I wasn’t as connected to their points of view as I was Jin’s.
I’m not going to spill much on the story other than to say that it was amazingly written and the way the story unfolds is really wonderfully paced.
If you’re looking for something a little different in the YA genre, something that isn’t as focused on a possible romance between characters as it is on the lives of the people in the story, then definitely check out The Walled City.
Thank you to Little Brown for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts~