Books Young Adult Fiction City of a Thousand Dolls

City of a Thousand Dolls Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/24/3f/be/_12084278-1347977820.jpg
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
899   0
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
February 05, 2013
ISBN
0062121308
Buy This Book
      
The girl with no past, and no future, may be the only one who can save their lives.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

Editor reviews

What I Loved:

This story is set in a fantasy world that strongly reminds me of China, which is one of my favorite settings. The Empire, the caste system, the two child law and the abandonment of girls, the refusal to acknowledge the worth of anyone with a physical imperfection, the customs and outfits ... it all said China with maybe a dash of Japan to me. I really enjoyed the world. The author brings a fresh voice and setting to the YA fantasy genre, and she handles her world building with ease. I was fully immersed in Nisha's world from the first page.

I also enjoyed Nisha herself. She's a strong, resilient heroine who takes action when she needs to. I liked seeing her character arc develop as the story progressed. She questioned things that I would question, and the author didn't give any easy answers.

The violence in the story is handled discreetly (most of it is off-page), and Nisha's voice sounds younger than many YA heroines (perhaps aided by the fact that she spends most of her time mind-talking with a herd of cats), and I don't think that's a bad thing. I would feel comfortable handing this book to a younger YA reader or a middle grade reader ready to take on something with a bit more meat on its bones. I think older YA readers might have trouble connecting with Nisha because of this, but there's certainly a need for YA heroines that can reach a younger audience.

What Left Me Wanting More:

While I enjoyed the idea of the murder mystery, the execution left me wanting more. Many times Nisha had a revelation, and I couldn't follow along with her because I hadn't been given enough information, or the information I had didn't show me why that revelation was significant. I also sometimes had difficulty buying into Nisha's motivation for continuing to solve the mystery, although the author pulled it off quite nicely at the end. And I was gratified to be surprised by the real villain.

While I loved the world building, I struggled with the secrets surrounding Nisha. So much is kept from her, and sometimes the cats simply fall back on a "we promised and we can't break our promise" to continue to hold secrets from her. As a reader, this frustrated me because it felt like the author was simply trying to drag the revelation out to the very end, rather than the revelation being unattainable because of difficult obstacles.

I also didn't connect with the romance. It felt more like an afterthought, and I didn't see any chemistry between Nisha and Devan when they were together.

However, the light romance, the secrets held out of reach, and the murder mystery did feel very appropriate for the younger YA reader, so take this criticism with a grain of salt. While this book might not ring all the bells for an older YA fantasy reader, this might be just the book to introduce newer readers to the genre.

Final Verdict:

With stellar world building, a resourceful heroine, and a few surprises up its sleeve, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is a unique fantasy story perfect for younger YA readers.
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
CJ Redwine, Editor Reviewed by CJ Redwine, Editor February 11, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (397)

Definitely Unique

What I Loved:

This story is set in a fantasy world that strongly reminds me of China, which is one of my favorite settings. The Empire, the caste system, the two child law and the abandonment of girls, the refusal to acknowledge the worth of anyone with a physical imperfection, the customs and outfits ... it all said China with maybe a dash of Japan to me. I really enjoyed the world. The author brings a fresh voice and setting to the YA fantasy genre, and she handles her world building with ease. I was fully immersed in Nisha's world from the first page.

I also enjoyed Nisha herself. She's a strong, resilient heroine who takes action when she needs to. I liked seeing her character arc develop as the story progressed. She questioned things that I would question, and the author didn't give any easy answers.

The violence in the story is handled discreetly (most of it is off-page), and Nisha's voice sounds younger than many YA heroines (perhaps aided by the fact that she spends most of her time mind-talking with a herd of cats), and I don't think that's a bad thing. I would feel comfortable handing this book to a younger YA reader or a middle grade reader ready to take on something with a bit more meat on its bones. I think older YA readers might have trouble connecting with Nisha because of this, but there's certainly a need for YA heroines that can reach a younger audience.

What Left Me Wanting More:

While I enjoyed the idea of the murder mystery, the execution left me wanting more. Many times Nisha had a revelation, and I couldn't follow along with her because I hadn't been given enough information, or the information I had didn't show me why that revelation was significant. I also sometimes had difficulty buying into Nisha's motivation for continuing to solve the mystery, although the author pulled it off quite nicely at the end. And I was gratified to be surprised by the real villain.

While I loved the world building, I struggled with the secrets surrounding Nisha. So much is kept from her, and sometimes the cats simply fall back on a "we promised and we can't break our promise" to continue to hold secrets from her. As a reader, this frustrated me because it felt like the author was simply trying to drag the revelation out to the very end, rather than the revelation being unattainable because of difficult obstacles.

I also didn't connect with the romance. It felt more like an afterthought, and I didn't see any chemistry between Nisha and Devan when they were together.

However, the light romance, the secrets held out of reach, and the murder mystery did feel very appropriate for the younger YA reader, so take this criticism with a grain of salt. While this book might not ring all the bells for an older YA fantasy reader, this might be just the book to introduce newer readers to the genre.

Final Verdict:

With stellar world building, a resourceful heroine, and a few surprises up its sleeve, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is a unique fantasy story perfect for younger YA readers.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.

Already have an account? or Create an account
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Kids Fiction
Murphy wants to help Sally and Mama build a new life in Nome, but life in the mining town is...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Ian Fleming's treasured classic soars in a deluxe edition featuring John Burningham's vibrant, full-color original illustrations. Famous for creating James...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Amy Green is finally turning fourteen, and her mother and Dave are getting married on her birthday! Wedding fever is...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Flat Stanley is back to save the day in the twelfth exciting Worldwide Adventures chapter book, just in time to...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
In their third adventure, Bramble and Maggie explore a new season together — fall! Leaves crunch underfoot. Acorns ping off...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Amy Namey, Ace Reporter, is on the hunt for a good news story. But not a lot happens in the...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Marissa tells lies. To herself, about the fact that her brother abandoned her. To her grandmother, when she says “everything’s...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Caitlyn is planning on having a carefree summer before she goes off to college. She has left the past behind...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
After Wendy is kidnapped by her own mother, the only way she can survive wartime Germany is with the help...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Flipping Scales-thumb.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Meredith and Marina’s lives have been flipped upside down. When the translucent skirt that straight-A-student Meredith finds hidden...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Monarch TN.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Some small town secrets need to be told . . . Stealing the family car is not 14-year-old Darby Fletcher’s...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tandem cover thumbnail.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
An ex-con. A tandem bicycle. And a bike trip through the mountains. Not exactly the ideal conditions for a father-son...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Sword and its Servant Title (with age warning)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Between Our World and Hel, Uncover... Deep lore, Dark intrigue, Depraved enemies. The links between the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
legendary
Aliana Fagan spent her childhood traveling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation. She wants to get as far away from her environmental...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day 5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market 4) Crashing a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday...
 
0.0
 
4.3 (1)
Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after...
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)