The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Published November 2014
Genres: YA; Realistic Fiction; Dystopian (kind of but not really, as I’ll explain)
That’s my reaction after finally finishing this gritty, captivating novel.
The Walled City is unlike anything I have ever read before. It was so beautifully written to have centered around such dark subject matter. In these pages we get an often times brutal look at the world the inhabitants of Hak Nam live in. There are the vagrants, criminals, brothels, drugs, and no shortage of violence. There is no real law in Hak Nam, but a Brotherhood exists that no one wants to be on the wrong side of.
This book has been shelved as “Dystopian,” but I disagree. While it is dark and disturbing, it is closer to realistic fiction in my opinion, because the events which take place could (and probably do, in part at least) really happen. Hak Nam (AKA “The Walled City”) is actually based on a real walled city–Kowloon–which once stood in Hong Kong, but was demolished in the early 1990s. But, it is not historical fiction.
The story is told from three perspectives (not something I usually enjoy).
Dai is trying to escape a troubled, haunting past and find some measure of vindication.
Jin is searching for her lost sister and living as a boy to stay safer.
Mei Yee has been trapped in a brothel for two years, dreaming and hoping for an escape, so she can return to the sister she loves.
I loved all three narrators, and I rooted for them from the beginning. All the characters were so real and well written, even the bad guys and minor characters. I could picture them all.
This book has quite a lot of action, but it’s well paced. I didn’t find myself tiring of it at all, but I did have to take a few breaks while reading, to pick up something lighter. This book has some heavy themes that might not be for everyone. However, if you can handle it, I would definitely recommend this book.
I wish I could add a “For fans of…” to this, but I really can’t think of anything similar. Based on the description, I was expecting something like The Maze Runner, but it is totally different.
Even though I received a free copy of this book, I still feel like this
**I received a copy for review from Net Galley**