My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):
Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!
Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Those are the rules Jin Ling must follow in the Walled City and the book begins with Jin following the first –running for her life.
The Walled City begins with heart-pounding intensity and it carries that same intensity throughout. This book just doesn’t stop! Jin is in the Walled City to find and save her sister and in the process she meets Dai who is in the city for his own secret reasons. Dai’s struggling with big time demons too, though readers aren’t immediately made aware of those demons, it is clear they involve big loss and bad decisions.
The Walled City is like a dystopian universe set right in the middle of the rest of the world, which continues about life as if what goes on inside those walls isn’t their concern – a world within a world. Drugs, prostitution, poverty, and general lawlessness all encompass this city, but walk right outside its gates and life goes on as normal. However, for Dai, it isn’t that easy. His secrets keep him voluntarily within the gates even though outside them he had a loving family; one with power and money. When he offers an opportunity to Jin, Jin is sure there are things hidden, but she breaks rule #2, trust no one, and partners with him anyway. Their journey is dangerous, but inside it they learn to trust and be trusted.
Graudin provides a fast-paced, interesting, and powerful read. Her writing is strong and gripping. Additionally, she’s done her research. Did you know there really is/was a Walled City? Make sure to read Graudin’s notes at the end of the book; they make the read even more impactful.
Final verdict: I loved this book. It kept my heart pumping and my fingers flipping pages. The characters are well-written and developed, while the story is intriguing. It kept me up well after bed time reading (1:30 am to be exact and then after finishing I couldn’t sleep because my blood pressure was a bit elevated)!
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.