Michelle’s Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin


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

Michelle’s Review: The Walled City by Ryan GraudinThe Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2014-11-04
Genres: Action & Adventure, Asia, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Family, General, Love & Romance, People & Places, Siblings, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars
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.

Writing this review a couple of months after finishing it, I still remember my overarching feeling towards this book: Wow. That’s messed up.

I don’t mean the book itself, the writing or really my enjoyment of it. The world is describes is what is messed up. It is dark and dangerous with elements that shocked me considering that this was being marketed as a young adult book.

There are drugs and the use of drugs for coercion. There are sex slaves, kidnapping, and torture. There are broken families and broken individuals. The scenes that those things occur in were very shocking to me, and even given my poor memory of books after finishing them, I can still remember my reaction to the book.

The three different narrators were fun to me, and once I became immersed in the book I was able to more easily tell them apart (especially given that their situations and environments were completely different). I remember being most confused about the status of the Walled City in the first half. What was it? Why was it there? What time is this story taking place in? Obviously all of that becomes clearer by the end and particularly by the note that explains that this type of urban environment is based on reality. But I think I would have benefited from knowing that bit in the beginning or at least a little earlier.

I will agree with other reviewers about the note of the happily ever after not quite matching what the rest of the book was like. I wanted the characters to be happy and I was left in suspense over certain events in the plot, but to have everything tied up like that in the end was almost more jarring than the corruption and evils by that point.

I would definitely recommend this book for those looking for a darker read in a dystopian environment that could actually exist.

pj - michelle

Michelle’s Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr


Michelle’s Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa MarrInk Exchange by Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Collins on 2008-04-29
Genres: Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
two-stars
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow. Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life. The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

I read Wicked Lovely years ago. It was another book that I liked enough. But when I was discovering a new used book store, perusing the young adult section, the spine of this book and its title caught my eye. I didn’t really know that Wicked Lovely was a series, and didn’t know that Ink Exchange was part of it. I knew the author was the same but didn’t quite put it all together. But I was surprised to see that the book was signed by Melissa Marr. That was cool! So I bought it, despite previously having no intention of continuing with the series.

It was the book that had been sitting on my TBR the longest this summer so I finally got around to it. Unfortunately, because of how long it had been since I had read about Aislinn and the Summer Court, I could barely remember what had happened before the events in Ink Exchange. And this book definitely just jumped right into it.

To say I was confused through most of the book is putting it lightly. I understood Leslie well enough and her motivations, but I was confused about the larger plot. I mean, I think I get it, but I’m not sure. It was not easy to follow and I don’t know how much of it is because of things that were included in the first book or was simply not explained right in this book. I do wonder about the success of a book if someone picking it up cannot follow it without having read the book before it. Isn’t that how most series are discovered (or at least used to be discovered as we would wander the shelves of the library or bookstore)?

There were some standout characters (okay, well Niall) but it wasn’t enough to save the book for me. It was okay, but it wasn’t a fun read for me. Too much confusion and teen angst.

pj - michelle