Review | The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Review | The Walled City by Ryan GraudinThe Walled City
by Ryan Graudin
Published by Little Brown for Young Readers
Release date : November 4th, 2014
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Source: BEA | Format: ARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) AudibleThe Book Depository

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.

Also by this author: All That Glows

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Walled City was one of my most anticipated books to snag at BEA14. However, just like most of my books, it got put up; collecting dust and looking oh so beautiful sitting on my shelf. But after debating forever on which book to read, Rebekah said to go for it and so I did.

My mind is a jumbled mess because of this book. One part of me (a large part) really struggled with this book. The writing was distracting, the characters were bland and too similar and the pacing was so.freaking.slow. Yet at the same time, I was intrigued because this book is loosely based on Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.

I’ll discuss the good first. The last 100 pages or so was amazing. I loved it. Things were happening! It was exciting. The action and the anticipation for how things were going to go was intense. I honestly loved how it ended, save for View Spoiler »

The tone of the book is sad; desolate. I loved how Ryan was able to capture the hopelessness of the City. It’s a lawless place, where drug lords are in charge and everyone must look out for themselves. It’s killed or be killed, and I thought she did a great job with it. It was also quite interesting how the author worked in human trafficking and Mai Yee’s story in the brothel.

Also, love the cat. 

What really hindered my overall enjoyment of the book was the writing. She loves her some metaphors; and the purple prose is so distracting. This book sits at over 400 pages and in my opinion, could have been cut to 290-300 if we took out all that. It was especially bad when we had Mai Yee’s POV.

Along those lines, the book was really slow at first. I was temped on several counts to DNF. Until the last 100 pages, I just wasn’t emotionally invested.

As for the characters. *SIGH* Of the three, I adored Jin. She is the brave, strong and smart one. She went into the City in search of her sister, and has survived on her own for two years. That’s no east feat. Dai. It’s hard to pinpoint anything significant about him, in all honestly. Mai Yee. There is a lot I want to say about her. But I know I would come off mean as all get out, so I will just stick with saying that she needs to stick by her sister. FOREVER.

It also bothered me how Mai Yee and Dai we all googly eyes for each other, so quickly. It wasn’t insta-love, because the romance is pretty much non-existent. But… I don’t know. It’s hard for me to grasp how much Dai was risking for Mai Yee at first, and how much Mai Yee was all YESSS DAI. Especially considering her predicament.

It was hard to distinguish whose POV I was reading, save for Mai Yee. I didn’t feel an overall difference between all the characters. Their voices were very similar and bland; almost unemotional There were several times I had to go back to the beginning to see whose head I was in. It was frustrating.


The Walled City was just OKAY for me. I loved the overall plot of the book – but the build up was slow and the writing is distracting. BUT. I do recommend if you want something different!


Rating Report
Overall: 2.9

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9 thoughts on “Review | The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

  1. Rebekah@Reflections of a Bookworm

    DAMN IT! Sorry this one didn’t blow you away, Tonya 🙁 I really struggle with purple prose and a crapload of metaphors because I spend half my time imagining the words and half my time skimming pages to get past it. Next time I’ll pick a better one 😉
    Rebekah@Reflections of a Bookworm recently posted…RB Reviews: AlienatedMy Profile

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