Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Rating: 4.5/5 

First of all I am so sorry for not having an actual photo of the book. Here's the description from Goodreads:

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.

          THIS BOOK MADE ME FEEL SO MANY THINGS. I really did enjoy this book. It was gritty and fast-paced. The characters are what I loved the most. There's Dai, who has a past that he's trying to outrun. Jin, who has been through so much at the hands of others, but still has fierceness in her eyes. And Mei Yee, who wants nothing more than to escape. 

          "You're a good person. I wish my brother had been right."

          Lets talk about Dai. In the past he made bad choices that eventually lead to his brother's death. I LOVE DAI SO SO SO much. He's loyal and loving, even though I feel like he tries to hide it. His relationship with Jin makes me so happy. He acts like an older brother to her the longer the book goes on. He'd be willing to die for her and makes me love him so much more. His relationship with Mei Yee..loved it. I found myself looking forward to his chapters, I loved being inside his head and seeing Hak Nam through his eyes. 

          "Our father would bellow and thrash her twice as hard. I think she did this on purpose, to steal all of our father's rage onto herself. He never beat me or my mother after he was done with Jin Ling."

          "It always feels like this when I'm running. As if I'm not in my body anymore. Some savage survivor takes over, does things I can't. She can leap over ten-foot gaps and jump into a half-filled dumpster from three stories up. She can squeeze through impossible, crushing spaces. And she can pull my full weight onto a slanting roof with only her arms."
          Living on the streets of Hak Nam as a girl is pretty much a death sentence. But somehow Jin manages to do it. How? Her spirit. I honestly don't know how it wasn't broken. The fact that she was able to run after her sister when she was taken blows my mind. She fought so hard for her mother and sister. She doesn't give up on her sister, or on Dai. Jin is a character who I'm going to be thinking about for a long time.

          "These girls, these sisters, I know they've stared at the ceiling the same way I do. Wanting to be anywhere else. I've heard them talk about home and the sea and wall-less days with something like hope in their breaths."

          I think if I were living Mei Yee's life, I would go insane. She and the other girls in the brothel have accepted that their lives will always be like this, locked up and used by others. They've formed a friendship, they look out for each other. Mei Yee is so strong, she wants to escape, but after seeing the things that happen to the girls who try to escape, they all believe that being on the inside is safer. When Dai first comes to her window, it's only to save himself and I sort of want to strangle her for trusting someone she doesn't know. But in the end it's the survivor in her that frees her and the other girls. 

        I still wish we got to find out what happened to Jin and Mei's mother, if she ever escaped their father. This book really was amazing. I loved Ryan's writing and how she made you see Hak Nam without describing the city itself, but the people in it and the main characters' fears and hopes. I hope to read more of her work in the future!


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