The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

January 15th, 2015 Kimberly Review 75 Comments

15th Jan
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
The Walled City
by Ryan Graudin
Published by: Hachette
Narrator: Eugene Kim, Janet Song, Kim Mai
Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

2015 FAV Audiobook historical YA ROMANCE

I was intrigued by the premise of The Walled City by Ryan Graudin and when an opportunity to review the audio edition presented itself, I jumped. Powerful, beautifully written and compelling this story kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.

quote from Walled City

Five Caffeinated reasons to listen to The Walled City

  • The Walled City is a modern day dystopian thriller based in part on the actual “walled city” of Kowloon. While, the author has taken some liberties she beautifully captured this dark city in Hong Kong. The writing is beautiful despite the darkness and at times almost lyrical. She beautifully captures the mannerism of the characters from personality to culture.
  • The story is told from three narratives. We have Mei Yee, a young woman who is sold by her father into a brothel. Next, we have Dai, a boy from a family of wealth who hides within the Walled City and seeks a chance at redemption. The last voice and my personal favorite belongs to that of Jin Ling. The sister of Mei Yee, she hides in the streets of the Walled City as a young boy and searches to free her sister. Each character is fleshed out and as the story progresses we see a connection form and tighten between the three. It was brilliant and captivating. The narrators for the audio were superb and captured each character’s personality and emotions adding an extra layer of enjoyment.
  • The Walled City itself is a living breathing character and reeks of brothels, drug lords, and poverty. Hunger and power rule here. It is the darkest aspect of humanity and one most turn a blind eye too…. to look almost painful. Graudin brought the city to life. I could see the buildings stacked as they robbing the inhabitants of fresh air and light to life. As I listened, I could close my eyes and see, taste and smell the city, the fear, and the desperation.
  • There is a romance in the Walled City and it developed slowly and beautifully. It certainly was not the focus, but its tender threads weaved into the story giving the listener hope and a glimpse of something light. It felt genuine and had all the feels while being understated and richly satisfying.
  • The storyline and the way in which Graudin weaved the three character’s together held me captive. At ten hours and twenty-eight minutes in length, I could not seem to stop listening and consumed this in less than a day. Sometimes when dealing with multiple pov’s I find myself annoyed when taken from one and moved into the other, but with the Walled City each storyline carried weight and was compelling. The story was suspenseful, emotional and felt refreshing original in a sea of similarity within the genre. As their timelines intertwined the climatic scenes had me holding my breath.

 “I don’t want to tell this boy my name. Too many people have stolen it, used it in ways I never intended. You never know what a fragile thing a name is until it’s used as a weapon, screamed like a curse.”-Mei Yee

 “I don’t believe in ghosts. Not like my grandmother, who knelt at our ancestral shrine every dawn with smoking sticks of incense folded in her palm and offerings of rice liquor and oranges tucked in her pockets. I always thought it was stupid, wasting fruit and good booze on the dead. Those who were long silent and gone. He haunts me anyway.”-Dai

 “I can stab a man, but I can’t let one die. Not on my watch.”-Jin Ling

The Walled City audio edition was pure perfection for me. Addictive, intense, and captivating. It was masterfully done and original. The narrators Eugene Kim, Janet Song and Kim Mai enhanced my experience and brought the characters to life.


Kowloon 1990

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About Ryan Graudin

She writes books. Some are about rowdy-partying princes and their faery guardians (ALL THAT GLOWS, HarperTeen, 2/11/14). Others are about teenagers fighting for their lives in the slums of the Hak Nam Walled City (THE WALLED CITY, Little, Brown, Fall 2014). She loves writing, traveling to new lands, drinking chai lattes and hanging christmas lights and loves Jesus.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat...Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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75 Responses to “The Walled City by Ryan Graudin”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hehe..I ended up doing a lot of research while reading this too Ali

  1. Melliane

    It’s great that you enjoyed this one so much! It’s the first time I hear about it but it sounds so well done. Plus it’s been a while since I haven’t read a good dystopia so it’s interesting. Great review!

    Melliane recently posted: Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Melliane, I confess it was new to me too..but I am so glad I decided to listen to it.

    • kimbacaffeinate many that the light doesn’t reach the streets below.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad to hear you will be reading it..I look forward to your take on it

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Liberties were taken but I think it really captures the conditions and corruption.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thank you, have fun googling it, the details and facts are very interesting.

  2. Amir

    I’ve actually been to Kowloon although I’ve only been near the dock area haha. You’re right, the premise sounds awesome and With your review and rating, I’m really intrigued to meet this characters now! I might have to check this on audible too since you enjoyed the narrators so much. Lovely review, Kimba!

  3. Ashley Farley

    Not my fav genre, but you make it sound too good to pass up. I’m always looking for a good audiobook. Often times I find something missing in the audio version. Doesn’t sound like that’s the case with The Walled City. Thanks for the review.

    Ashley Farley recently posted: Bookish Bingo—A Reading Challenge for 2015
    • kimbacaffeinate

      If the audio is well done I find the audio often enhances it, but it depends on so many elements. I love mixing up the genres.

  4. Nick

    Just that last image you shared is enough to get me shuddering. I have this book and I’ve been meaning to read it since it’s release date but you know how it is with life getting in the way! I’m glad that you liked it. I like that the Walled City really came alive for you.
    Gorgeous review, Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo Anna I am addicted to must listen to The Girl on the about blew my mind. That. is. all.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      hehe…I have been finding some awesome reads/listens Deb 🙂

  5. Ro

    I’m with Red. Didn’t know this city even exited! (lol) I love the way you write your reviews. Unique from what I’ve seen in other places. I’ve been hanging out at At Eargasms so i can do the Audio thing, but it’s rough. Admire those who can listen AND understand the things going on in audiobooks. Love the theme of this one.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Ro, I mix my review formats up and use several different styles. I appreciate the feedback, I find I do better with certain genres on audio. The more you listen the better you become at listening..sounds weird but true.

  6. Kay

    Jin Ling was my favorite voice when reading this too! Although I did love them all with their beautiful yet heartbreaking stories. I’m glad the audio book worked out for you. I enjoyed this book a great deal as well. I loved the writing and these characters. It was very unique.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      So glad you enjoyed this too..I really think the audio added to the tale, since I did see some folks thought the tale dragged in areas however I never experienced that.

  7. Liz

    Wow, this sounds interesting. I love that it’s in Hong Kong, and so vividly at that. And hell, dystopian – sounds perfect. 🙂 Although I think I’ll have to read, and not listen, but it’s still one I’m after!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I slipped right in but I think the narration helped with that..i do hope you try again Megan

    • kimbacaffeinate

      *blushes* thank you, and I am glad others loved it too. I try to avoid them until my review go live. lol

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It has it’s dark moments to be sure, but you become so caught up in the characters.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Wasn’t that a powerful one, there are so many quotable lines..the writing is beautiful

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hope you enjoy it, anytime a book is based on something factual I find it even more interesting

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Angela, the audio edition pushed this over the top for me

    • kimbacaffeinate glad to see you had the same experience reading it Mary.

  8. Michelle

    I had no idea the Walled City actually existed until I read this, and then I spent hours just looking at the pictures of it. So unreal. I loved this book, I bet it would have been a very good audiobook listen too.

    Michelle recently posted: Fictional Foodies: Buzz Cake
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh ..i am so glad I was able to share with you and delighted you loved the book!

  9. Jessica

    Great review! I was really interested in this one, but I held off, b/c this author’s other series got some really terrible reviews for reasons I felt were legitimate, so even though this is a totally different kind of book, I was still gun shy. I happy to know I can safely put this one on my wishlist 😉

  10. Karen Blue

    I read this book and didn’t like it half as much as it sounds like you did. Maybe listening would have been better? Maybe not. I listen to as many books on my kindle as I read, and this just wasn’t a book I enjoyed. I am glad you liked it though.

    Karen Blue recently posted: OUTLIER: REBELLION by Daryl Banner
    • kimbacaffeinate

      So sorry to hear that. I did not try reading it, but listening was a treat for me

    • kimbacaffeinate

      So happy you loved reading it. Yes, the audio just added another layer 🙂

  11. Tressa

    Yay! I’m so glad you loved this one!! Now I really need to read it, even though I think it’ll make me sad. That’s probably one of the reasons I put it off a little. I’m reading All That Burns (All That Glows #2) soon and looking forward to it because I really enjoyed the first book. Thanks for the review!