Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015: 'The Walled City'

Welcome to Book City
Date: January 12, 2015

Spoilers Ahead

The Walled City
Ryan Graudin

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.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Jin runs from Kuen with his good boots. Dai sees her running. Mei Yee's friend at her brothel Sing is forced to take heroin. Dai finds Jin. He asks her to do a drug run for Longwai. Mei Yee sleeps with Ambassador Osamu. Jin and Dai make the run. Dai finds out about Mei Yee's window. He makes a deal with Mei Yee to tell her information and get information in return. Kuen takes Jin's tarp. Dai protects Jin. He takes her to his apartment, but Jin flees. Mei Yee gets a serving job to get information. Jin is attacked by Kuen. She kills him. Dai finds Jin and takes her to his family's home outside Hak Nam. The ambassador hurts Mei Yee. Dai and Jin tell each other the truth: Jin being female and Dai revealing how he lost his brother. Dai leaves Jin to rest and goes to see Mei Yee. Mei Yee tells him the plan to get the ledger by using her friends. Mei Yee shows the shell Dai have her to her friends. Yin Yu tells Longwai. Mei Yee is forced into a room with Sing. Dai is almost forced to give Mei Yee heroin. Osamu appears and takes Mei Yee away. Dai is shot. Jin is cornered by Kuen's gang. Jin and Mei Yee reunite. Jin and Mei Yee plan to rescue Dai. Dai escapes. Jin goes in as a girl to the brother Longwai runs. Jin gets the ledger. Dai is safe. Dai takes the girls to his house after they are taken out. A foundation is built for the people in Hak Nam. Dai takes Jin and Mei Yee to the sea.
And that's what happened this week. 

Personal Ads:
Jin Ling.
Female pretending to be a male. Looking for her older sister. Runner. Quick. Clever.

Rich boy. Likes Mei Yee. Wants to leave the Walled City. 

Mei Yee.
Prostitute to Ambassador Osamu. Sister to Jin. Likes Dai. Wants to be free. 

I feel like many could like this. It had action and just enough of romance. A sisterly bond even. I just didn't like it. There were things that I couldn't shake. I could have liked it with different characters and relationships between them...but it wasn't what I love in books. It was an okay book, though.

I liked the setting. I have had vacations in Hong Kong. I know of Kowloon the place Hak Nam is based off of. I've been there. Probably. I can't remember. I've eaten the cha tsu bao. I've eaten that a lot. I'm Chinese American. I've eaten dim sum before. So I loved that this was based off of Asia. Specifically Hong Kong. I like that place. Subway system. Cable cars. I have good memories of Hong Kong. I remembered some when I read this book. Even if it's not specifically based in Hong Kong. It's a great setting. Drawing you in with the dirty alleys and cluttered housing. It reminds me of Hong Kong. The way the author described it wasn't the best. I would have loved to know more about the housing. More about the smells and sights on the street. But it's perfectly fine the way she did it.
The characters were okay. I liked Jin better than Dai. Jin was brave. She was caring. She loved her sister and wanted to find her again. And admirable mission though hardly easy to accomplish. I liked how she grew into not trusting into trusting Dai. He, after all, isn't easy to like. (I mean...I didn't like him.) I would love to read more about Jin. I felt like she was kinda...a background character. Sure, she had her moments when she was essential to the plot, but she would fade. I feel like this book isn't even when distributing main character status. I definitely wanted more Jin. More of her backstory and whatnot. She was an amazing character. 

I also liked Mei Yee's change. She was a shy girl in the beginning. Submissive, even, if you want to call her that. (I wouldn't. I feel terrible as a person calling someone submissive. But if you're into that...) She changed into a heroine. I really liked that. I'm not a big fan of 'weaker' female character. I am, while hating being female, a feminist in a way. (Sure. I act innocent. Act.) I like how she gained her independence without Dai helping her. Mei Yee was growing into a great character. Until Dai came, and her heart went a-thump-a-thump. Good female characters being ruined by boys just drives me crazy. I'm sorry, but that will get me on my soapbox. (If I even have one.) I liked how she was going. 

I didn't like the plot. I really didn't. To me, there wasn't much going on for most of the book. It was kinda boring and dull. I didn't really like it. I needed more action. I needed more drama. I felt like it was lacking. I wanted knife fighting scenes. I wanted the attack scenes with Kuen do be more action. More almost-deaths. I like those things. Those things are my favorite type of action scenes. 

And, somehow, the three perspective threw me off. I felt like the the story wasn't evenly divided for each of the characters. I felt like Jin should have been represented more. It seemed like she was ignored for the romance brewing between Dai and Mei Yee. I wanted more about her. I felt like there was not enough of her. Dai and Mei Yee had interesting perspectives. I wanted to know more about them as well. It's hard to juggle many perspectives without having someone ignored. I felt like the romance was consuming the story. 

The romance wasn't very good as well. It wasn't based off of anything. It was physical attraction. Dai wanted something from Mei Yee. I felt like that was just plain wrong. They fell or whatnot for absolutely no reason. I'm not sure I liked it. There wasn't chemistry. They barely talked. It felt like a Romeo and Juliet situation. It didn't mean much. There wasn't too much happening. They barely know each other. I wanted something else. A better relationship. Dai and Mei Yee were perfectly fine without being in a relationship. Sure, that pulls things along with the ledger finding. That isn't too much that needs to happen, though. I know it jumpstarts things. I know that. But the romance isn't a very good one.

While there were some good things, they weren't very strong good points. I felt...disappointed in this book almost. I wanted more. I expected a lot. I expected action and a little bit of romance. (While we got just a tad more than I wanted.) I know a lot of people might like this book. I know that. 

Sunny with a 50% chance of rain

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