Title: The Walled City
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Indigo Books
Source: Review Copy
Publication Date: 6th November, 2014
There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run. Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels--or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.The Walled City is a book that I've been itching to get my hands on, and with good reason. The amount of buzz surrounding this book is ridiculous and so addictive. The premise sounded fantastic, everyone's anticipation was dragging me in and I couldn't wait to find out what Jin, Dai and Mei Yee had in store for me. Having devoured this 400+ page book in just two days, I can 100% ensure you that this book is worth every single squee and ounce of anticipation that it's created. This book is easily one of my favourite reads of 2014; an instant purchase once it's out and an author that I am guaranteed to add to my 'stalk-next-release' pile.
I think what captivated me the most about The Walled City was the absolute darkness of Hak Nam and the realisation that, although this book is said to be dystopian, it's actually based on a real place; the Kowloon Walled City, China. After reading this book, if it isn't enough to give you the chills I don't know what will be. Graudin paints an absolutely terrifying picture of poverty, of gang culture, and the power of drug lords in such settings. It's safe to say I was captivated from the word go. This book was not letting me go any time soon. I'm still thinking about this book days after finishing it. It's taken all I've got not to post this review right now rather than scheduling it for October!
All three of the protagonists are entirely loveable. I was definitely on their sides throughout the entire book and I was praying for their happy ending. I so desperately wanted them to succeed in what they were doing and found myself gripping the book in anticipation. The language that Graudin uses is so intense, so visual and so realistic that I found myself shying away from the violence in certain areas. You know the descriptions that actually make your face alter? That was me on a bus on my way home from London. I couldn't keep the physical cringes and gasps of shock inside. This book. This book is actually the best thing since sliced bread. It really is.
As you can gather from this review, this book is definitely top shelf material. The Walled City will be sitting proudly next to my J. K. Rowling books. It's been a long time since I read a book that is so exciting, heart-wrenching, gut-churning and thrilling. I'm overwhelmed by the perfection that is this book and I really can't wait for you all to read it. If you're going to read just one other book this year, please make it The Walled City.