book review

The Walled City


Title: The Walled City walled-city-cover

Author: Ryan Graudin

Synopsis: 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.

Pages: 425

Rating: ★★★★

Non-Spoiler Review

This book was so good. It alternates between three different point of views. First there is Dai. Dai has been trapped in the Walled City for 730 days. He only has 18 to escape. In order to achieve his freedom, he needs to steal something from the one who rules the Walled City. In order to do this, he needs help. In comes Jin, the second point of view. On the outside, Jin is a boy. But truthfully, she’s a girl. Hiding as a boy, Jin navigates the streets of the Walled City trying to survive, using her speed as her greatest asset. Along with trying to survive, Jin is searching for someone she lost, her sister. Lastly, the third point of view is Mei Yee. For two years she has been trapped inside a brothel owned by the one in charge of the Walled City. It is drilled into her and the other girls that there is no escape. Those who have tried to escape, have failed. Mei Yee is on the brink of giving up on hoping for freedom and a better future. But when a strange face shows up at her window, she starts to think that maybe there is hope after all.

These three characters all come from different places, but are all stuck in the same place. The Walled City is so crowded, that yet, these three characters find themselves needing the others to escape. What I liked about this book was how these three characters were woven into each other. how they all aligned and needed each other to hopefully escape the Walled City. Each character came from a different background, was there for a different reason. But they all found each other and used each other to help each other to attempt to escape.

Dai. Flat out in the beginning of the book, Das establishes himself as someone who isn’t to be trusted, as a bad person. His character growth was the most obvious to me and my favorite. Watching him evolve from who he is in the beginning of the book to who he becomes at the end of the book made me like him even more. I found Mei Yee’s character growth to be smaller on the noticeability level. Even though Dai had a much more clearer character growth that I enjoyed reading about, I found myself caring more for Mei Yee. She went from this shy, kind of keep you head down kind of girl, to someone who was able to find her bearings and kind of shed the timidness she used to have. Jin, however, I didn’t really see a character growth. Compared to the other two, I think her character growth was very minor. The only thing I really saw in her that changed was she kind of broke her wall that she had up. Maybe that was her character growth, but if there was another one, I couldn’t see/find it.

One thing that I found really interesting about the book was that the Walled City was based off of a real place. The place that it was based off of was called Kowloon City located in Hong Kong. When I first discovered this I was a bit confused as to why this wasn’t categorized as historical fiction or something historical. However I think the reason is because the author changed the names of  places and altered it just a little. But always, I was very fascinated with the actual city and how this book was based off of that place.

So really, the only main issue I had with this book was its pacing. I found it to be very slow in the beginning and I often sometimes had no motivation to read it because of its pacing. I think if it wasn’t for the fact that I was buddy reading this with my friend, I might of DNF’s it and read it at a later time. This book takes place on an 18 day countdown. For most of the 18 days, up until day 5 about, nothing really happened. For something as grand schemed as they were planning, the amount of time spent kind of dillydaddling, just didn’t really add up. They should of spent more time planning I feel like with what they were hoping to achieve and all in all it just didn’t add up for me.


Overall, I found this book enjoyable and I was presently surprised with how it ended. If you’ve read this book, what are your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “The Walled City”

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