November 20, 2014

The Walled City - Ryan Graudin

The Walled City Ryan Graudin book cover
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Source/Format: BEA 2014 || ARC
[I received this from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

Impressive is the first word that comes to mind when attempting to describe The Walled City. These are the words that follow after: Gritty. Harsh. Dark. Compelling. Author Ryan Graudin sets the stage with the unforgiving, terrifying place that is the Walled City. Combined effortlessly with her three character narrators – Dai, Mei Yee & Jin Ling – and a story that will has readers wondering what will happen next, Graudin has definitely written something memorable.

Honestly, it’s probably best to go into The Walled City knowing just the bare bones of things. The story is comprised of three different goals that tangle together: Dai is running out of time to accomplish an important task, Jin Ling wants to find her older sister and Mei Yee dreams of a life outside the brothel. Graudin deftly juggles their different points of view, allowing readers to really get into the heads and heart of these characters. Readers will find themselves drawn to these characters, because Graudin depicts them as they really are – a complicated mess of good and bad qualities, shaped by their history and current situation. It is definitely a quality that makes The Walled City interesting, and the reason readers will be invested in finding out what happens next. 

The Walled City is the kind of story readers will find it hard to tear their eyes away from until the very end. (Proof: I totally sat on a bench in a subway station to finish it before I went off to work.) Dai, Jin Ling, Mei Yee – these characters will definitely stay with readers long after they have finished. Different it may be, but that is certainly why The Walled City is worth the read.

What would be your survival skill?

Honestly, if I were put in any situation that was life or death, I'm thinking it'll be sheer adrenaline that will carry me through. But if I had to think about what skill I'd probably use most to survive, it would be strategy. I'm not much for physically trying situations, but I can definitely make plans, seek out good hideouts and gather provisions. So, I think my best chances of survival would lie in my ability to create great survival strategies.


  1. I absolutely pick teleporting as my super power if I get to pick!! I would hate to be stuck with claws or something like Wolverine, because that power is painful, and useless, since I don't fight super villains. The super power I would probably get based on my actual life would be something with fire, because I'm always hot to the touch.

  2. I would love to have teleportation - or be able to fly. My superpower is a super-sensitive bullshit detectometer! Just ask my kids :-)

    Tanya Patrice


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