Before picking up this book, I had extremely high expectations regarding what I was about to read, so for that reason my thoughts on this aren’t quite as positive as I would have liked them. I’m sorry. That’s my own fault. I shouldn’t have set my expectations so high.
I had heard nothing but brilliant things about Ryan Graudin before picking this book up. Mainly things about her book Wolf by Wolf, but I had also heard a high amount of praise for The Walled City. So I dove into this book expecting a masterpiece in YA literature – and to be honest, I was very disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong – The Walled City is an oddly refreshing and gritty novel with fast paced action. I was completely engaged in this book… for about the first 20 pages. And then things began to simmer down. While I loved the premise for this story and the idea of Dai and Jin Ling working as partners in crime, I found that the story and relationships between characters were never fully developed.
As much as I did enjoy the refreshing relationship between the sisters and the evolution of them as individuals throughout the story, I found it very hard to connect to Dai – who was unfortunately for me one of the main narrators of this story. Things were overwhelmingly underdeveloped. I wanted the characters to be rougher, the baddies to be scarier, and the shadows of the walled city to be darker and more frightening. Unfortunately they weren’t, and for me that definitely decreased my enjoyment while reading this.
Despite all my criticism for this book, I really do have to give Ryan Graudin credit for writing something so unique yet still laced with reality. It’s definitely an improvement over most of the dystopian lining the shelves these days and I would recommend it to those who continue to read a lot of YA. For those moving onto more adult reads, I’d probably give this one a miss.
3/5 stars. ▲