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)
1096   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

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

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: How It Ends by Catherine Lo + Giveaway (International)

    We have another great cover reveal for you, YABC! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for HOW IT ENDS by Catherine Lo, releasing June 7, 2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Catherine:   ...

  • What's New in YA

      Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!     When high school senior Kelsey’s identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn’t know about the trag ...

  • Giveaway: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch (US & Canada Only)

    DAMAGE DONE by Amanda Panitch Release Date: 7/21/2015     About the Book Family can be a real killer. DAMAGE DONE is a gripping YA debut about a girl trying to escape the past. In this deliciously disturbing, heart-in-your-throat psychological thriller, the tru ...

  • Diversify Your Shelves with WNDB

      Column by Maurene Goo   Maybe it’s because Comic Con is around the corner, or just the general languor that settles in when it’s hot—but summer always makes me want to crack into a good graphic novel and just completely escape. So here ar ...

  • Giveaway: 5 Seconds of Summer: All Exposed by Mick O'Shea (US & Canada Only)

    5 Seconds of Summer: All Exposed by Mick O’Shea Release Date: 10/07/2015   About the Book They've toured with One Direction and scored international super-hits in more than 50 countries across the globe but 5 Seconds of Summer are more than just another boy band. Like ...

  • Giveaway: The Princess & the Pony by Kate Beaton (US Only)

    THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY by Kate Beaton In stores June 30th   About the Book Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn't quite get the ...

  • Giveaway: The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (US Only)

    The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson   Release Date: 6/30/15   About the Book Summer, 1989: Sixteen-year-old Dionne Braithwaite and her younger sister Phaedra have just arrived in Bird Hill in Barbados. Sent from Brooklyn by their mother after she can no longe ...

  • Giveaway: Siren's Fury by Mary Weber (US Only)

    Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber Release Date: June 2, 2015   About the Book “I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no ...

  • Giveaway: Paperweight by Meg Haston (US Only)

    PAPERWEIGHT by Meg Haston   Release Date: July 7, 2015   About the Book In the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss. Seventeen-ye ...

  • Giveaway: Wanted Series by Erin Johnson (US Only)

    About the Books   WANTED: Grace and the Guiltless (Book 1) by Erin Johnson Release Date: August 1, 2014 As the first book in the new young-adult series Wanted, Grace and the Guiltless is an edge-of-your-seat, gripping thrill ride. Set in the Wild West, the book pigg ...

  • Giveaway: Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Brambles (US & Canada Only)

    Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Brambles Release Date: October 1, 2015     About the Book Becoming Darkness is a dark, action-filled tale set in an alternate twenty-first century in which Hitler won World War II, our modern technologies never evolved, and the Nazi ...

  • Giveaway: Alive by Chandler Baker (US Only)

    ALIVE   by Chandler Baker Release Date: June 9, 2015     About the Book Stella Cross's heart is poisoned. After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella re ...

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

51iGVDfpBrL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Category: Kids Fiction
In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu's sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
51VpiSn2KKL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Category: Kids Fiction
An engrossing fantasy, a high-seas adventure, an alternate history epic—this is the richly imagined and gorgeously realized new book from...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
51sUO9Zx62L._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Category: Kids Fiction
Ronan Truelove barely survived his first encounter with his father and the Bend Sinister. Now, he’s determined to become one...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
That sweaty, gut-clenching, suffocating, racing-heart feeling... that dull, never-ending sense that something's wrong. What is it? Anxiety, which together with...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twin sisters Kelsey and Michelle Maxfield look identical -- but they couldn't be more different. Kelsey is the captain of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Your day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at midnight -- if you're lucky. You keep up with all two...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Many people experience depression at one time or another in their lives, but during the adolescent years, the vast number...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mental Health Information for Teens, Fourth Edition: Health Tips About Mental Wellness and Mental Illness, Including Facts About Recognizing and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Making a difficult topic easier to comprehend, "Heads Up Psychology" offers big ideas, simply explained, for teen readers. Psychology is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Practice Makes Perfect. Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
The first book in an epic new series for fans of The School for Good and Evil and The Land...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
*36:00:00* The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gone Girl meets 13 Reasons Why in this stylish, sexy, and atmospheric story about friendship packed...
 
4.0 (2)
 
2.7 (1)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Paper in the Wind is a compassionate and riveting story depicting a single father’s dedication to his daughter. In the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING. Thousands are fleeing the chaos and social unrest. “You could almost imagine everything was like...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING. Thousands are fleeing the chaos and social unrest. With their own water and power supplies, fourteen...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Zane is not that interested in the Gollywhopper Games. He'd rather play football and is sure that he's headed straight...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Chock-full of puzzles, riddles, and challenges for the reader to solve along with the main characters, this fast-paced companion to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
On his twelfth birthday, Archie Greene receives a mysterious package containing an ancient book in a language he doesn't recognize....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)