November 9, 2014

Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin #TheWalledCity

The walled city

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.

add to goodreads

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
Publisher:  Little, Brown

Available for Purchase:


** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013I want you to imagine a corrupt city, running rampant with crime, prostitution and murder, where you seemingly can’t escape to a safe haven. That is where author Ryan Graudin’s characters exist in the novel The Walled City. Instantly that premise snagged my attention and left me dying to get reading. The Walled City isn’t the kind of read that drags on and on and on (and on and on and on), instead it keeps you right on the edge of your seat anticipating what might happen next to our trio of main characters.

Who are our main characters? First we have Jin. A young girl who has been living inside of the Walled City and masquerading as a boy, living under the radar, doing small jobs in order to get by. Ever since their father sold her sister Mei Yee to a brothel, Jin has been searching for her lost sister and won’t stop until they are reunited. Mei Yee has spent the past two years being sold to a single customer, waiting for the day that she might be free from the Brotherhood, the brothel, and the man who owns her. Then there’s Dai who hides behind a dark past and has entered the Walled City searching for someone just like Jin to help him out with a job. But one job results in serious consequences, with each of these protagonists’ lives being intertwined and every action having a devastating reaction.

At first I thought that The Walled City was set in some sort of dystopian China where all of humanity was left inside of a corrupt city or something. I was surprised to find about halfway through the novel that there was no way that this novel was a dystopia considering some of the characters’ thoughts that mentioned Western cultures and the like. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the novel that I discovered that The Walled City is actually based on a real-life city that was in China. First of all, that’s terrifying considering that the Walled City was the kind of place that seemed a hundred percent fictatious. Second of all, I wished that that fact had been made clear early on in the novel instead of leaving me wondering exactly what place in time the story was set in.

That was my only real problem with the novel. I loved just about everything else in it. The characters, the plot, the subplots. I was on the edge of my seat and it only took me a day to get through the novel, put it down and just think ‘Wow, this was a really kickass book.’ I do feel like there’s a bit of everything for everyone who decides to pick up the novel. It has a badass male character who is not only gorgeous but also a tragic hero. There’s a tomboyish girl who has sacrificed everything she has for family and we have her beautiful sister who slowly learns how to become the strong woman her sister believes her to be.

Personally, I was in love with Mei Yee’s character. I haven’t ready many novels with prostitution as a leading theme and haven’t had any where the main character is a prostitute herself. Mei Yee is a character who I could sympathize with and cheer on. She’s a perfect example of what a strong female character should be. She’s like Mulan minus the warrior garb and ignoring the prostitute bit.

The Walled City kept me turning pages like crazy. I’m a big fan of novels that can keep me addicted and this was definitely one of those. Chapters alternated between characters and I admit, I was racing to get to either Dai or Mei Yee’s chapters (loved Jin but parts of her story weren’t as exciting as the other two characters involved). The Walled City is the perfect mix of action, suspense and adventure.

My only warning for any readers would be that there are themes in the novel that include sexual assault and that they should be wary of that. Otherwise, I would recommend this novel to any readers that are big fans of novels that will keep them busy and to any fans of non-stop action. Any readers who want a novel that will tear out their heart should also pick up The Walled City.


Ryan Graudin

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Tumblr 

No Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Your comments make us smile!