February 28, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
November 4, 2014
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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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.


First Sentence: “There are three rules of survival in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife.”

Fun fact: I nearly did my pre-thesis for my History minor on The Walled City, but there weren’t a lot of primary sources I could used, so I had to switch my topic.

The Walled City follows the lives of three characters living inside this makeshift city—all dealing with the threat of violence, drugs, and prostitution that plague their every day life. They essentially have to try to survive or they will get got. So, the question is: is The Walled City a book that will satisfy my (and everybody else’s) curiosity of the actual Walled City in Kowloon? Hell no.

I tried and I tried and I tried to read this book, but my heart and brain were both telling me NOPE. I managed to get through the three main character’s point of views before I decided to call it quits. It was mind-numbing torture. I was not thrilled about the plot, which was boring at best and didn’t go anywhere, or the characterizations of the three characters, who all felt like they had the same voice. The writing felt disjointed and a bit cliché. It also relied a lot on cringe-worthy metaphors that were trying to be lyrical when it only made me want to scratch my eyes out and release a Tina Belcher groan. They were extremely out of place and constantly made me go, “wait, what the hell.” (I won’t torture you or my poor brain of giving examples. You’re welcome.) Just a big fat no to it.

And I’m sure it only gets worst from what I’ve read from reviews by trusted bloggers, so I’m gonna stay away from this book forever.

I would’ve preferred reading a nonfiction work about The Walled City than waste my sanity on this book because at least there wouldn’t be ridiculous and extremely cliché metaphors being thrown all over the place.


One Response to “(DNF) REVIEW | The Walled City by Ryan Graudin”

  1. That bad? ): I have this book but I still haven’t got round to reading it – I want to like it because like, a YA book set in Hong Kong?? WANT. But sighhh, I’ve seen so many negative reviews of this I just don’t know anymore. I’m still going to try reading it at some point but at this point I kind of am just hoping someone else comes along to write a good YA book set in Hong Kong because I still want that.

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