Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Reviewer: E

This book was a great read that lacked a bit of substance as it progressed. 

The Walled City focuses on three teenagers, with alternating POV chapters. They all are “street kids” trying to make it on their own in a dangerous walled city. They have a certain number of days to escape Hak Nam, as it’s called, but it didn’t really explain why they have to escape, which left me a bit confused. The book definitely needed some world building. 

The plot seemed unoriginal at first. I mean, how many dystopias have you seen about fighting kids whose lives intertwine when they have to escape a place? As I read, however, I realized that it was actually very fresh and new.  The description of Chinese culture was an interesting detail that I liked. The characters were admittedly a little 2D and indistinguishable at times, but I loved their individual internal conflicts- they made them seem real and brought life to the story. 

The story and writing were action packed. There were plenty of exciting and tense moments that would keep a reader on the edge of their seat. The writing was entertaining, overusing technique slightly. Sometimes the action-y scenes felt cliché. You know what I mean: Run, run! Fight! Why are we doing this? Who knows! I tip my hat to Ms. Graudin, though, for creating a story and text that kept me engrossed and excited for more than 400 pages. 

I give this book four out of five stars for some disappointing elements. An overall awesome read recommended to fans of action/suspense and  dystopia. 🙂


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