Review: ‘The Walled City’ by Ryan Graudin

I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The Walled City’ by Ryan GraudinThe Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 4th, 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Love & Romance, Survival, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: requested from publisher
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.

The Book DepositoryChapters/IndigoGood Reads


Having DNF’d this, I knew I had to keep pushing through even if at first it didn’t grab my attention. I started it at the end of October and just finished it at the end of December. Putting a book down and reading others actually helps, I recommend doing that.


The premise of The Walled City is real. There was an actual walled city where people lived and died. But Ryan’s version is fictional. She wanted to write about the vagrants, the street kids, the prostitutes and drug criminals. I loved the idea of having three different point of views from various walks of life. There’s Jin Ling who is on the streets living as a boy who is trying to find her sister Mei. Mei Yee was sold into the brothel house by her own father. And then there’s Dai who is harbouring a secret so big that it changed his life.


I thought it was interesting enough, but the beginning was truly boring. I had to stop reading for awhile and pick up other books because I wasn’t into the slow start at all. I got about halfway through until it started to get better. The execution wasn’t as fast as I would have liked it to be because I need something to engage me in the first 100 hundred pages or to get bored. I also found the characters to have almost similar viewpoints and the daily life was too tedious for me. Having the focus on Jin would have flowed better because I didn’t care about Mei Yee at all. As soon as she saw Dai, it was all over. She couldn’t see anything else. Even her sister. I found it highly unlikely she wouldn’t be looking for her little sister.


Overall, a good story if it captures your attention at the get go! It took me about a couple of days to lose interest, and another two months to pick it back up, but I’m glad I did, I wanted to know if everything is okay at the end..Or if it didn’t.

reading progress



There is no escape. Forget your home. Forget your family.
I’ve never been able to sit back and watch things happen. Not without a fight. (89)
What good is a locked door when the threat might be inside? (138)
I don’t have to be the strong one. I don’t have to be alone anymore. (220)
Courage and hope can’t exist in a place like this. (319)
It’s not our world. People like us belong in the shadows. (398)





  1. Barbara

    January 8, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    I gave this the same rating on Goodreads. I didn’t love it. I definitely agree about losing interest. For me, the pace was too slow and I feel like the three different perspectives weren’t really necessary – it was more of Dai’s story.

    Barbara @ My Bibliophile Mind

    • giselle

      January 8, 2015 at 7:59 PM

      Exactly! I felt like I was reading a different book from every one else because they loved it. Would have been better if it was just her story

  2. czai

    January 4, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    Slow start + almost similar character viewpoints? thanks for the heads up. I’m still quite interested in reading this one because of the premise and I’m glad to know what to expect in terms of execution when I read this one 🙂

    • giselle

      January 5, 2015 at 10:56 PM

      Yep though I’m in the minority for that. Others have loved it! You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy it

  3. Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes

    January 4, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Slow beginnings aren’t necessarily a bad thing–that is, if they setup the rest of the story and the world really well. I’m curious to pick this book up still. Also, that ARC cover is beautiful! The official American cover is a bit boring; nice typography but that’s it. I love the dragon on the cover you have! Haha.

    • giselle

      January 5, 2015 at 10:57 PM

      Yes, couldn’t agree more. Though i have to be interested in it right away or I’ll put it down, which I did in this case. Oh yeah they released this cover here in Canada. Thank God too because the other one wasn’t as pretty lol

  4. Sophia Rose

    January 4, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    It looks like it has promise, but I hear you when a book gets off to a slow start.

    • giselle

      January 5, 2015 at 10:58 PM

      It’s hard to get it going afterwards!

  5. Cynthia

    January 4, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    I was thinking about reading this, but maybe not after your review. Doesn’t seem like my kind of thing.

    • BO-OK NERD Canada

      January 4, 2015 at 8:42 PM

      Yeah I gave it a shot..but wasn’t for me

    • giselle

      January 5, 2015 at 11:00 PM

      Givea you more time to read more books!

  6. Joycedale Chapman

    January 4, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    You seem to be the only person I know to have read this that didn’t love it. I like that, not everyone loves a book.

    • giselle

      January 4, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      Yeah. I just thought it dragged on a lot, very predictible, and characters seemed to have the same voice

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