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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Title: City of A Thousand Dolls
Author: Miriam Forster
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062121301
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


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 little girl. 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. She makes her way as Matron's errand girl, 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 she let herself imagine a line 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 also her life.

          (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


When she was a child, Nisha had been left at the gates of the City of A Thousand Dolls. She doesn't know where her parents are, or why they left them. All she has left is a tiger tattoo at the back of her neck. Now a teenager, Nisha is the eyes and ears of Matron - an important figure in the City. The only expectation she now has is to leave the city to be a bride of the young noble-slash-courier. But everything changes when Nisha chances upon the first dead girl, because as the murders go on, the killer has made no secret of the next victim: her. Protected by an army of wonderfully strange cats, secret houses and teachers, Nisha finds out there's more to the City than she thinks - there's political intrigue, deception, and a betrayal that may cost her her life. 

City of a Thousand Dolls had a premise that was uniquely intriguing, and was one of my most anticipated books for 2013. As there is a policy with regards to the number of children, unwanted girls are most often left for the City. This is something that struck me reminiscent of China, since it has the one birth policy. China has let the situation become so dire that the one birth policy has led to infanticide when the baby turns out to be of the female gender. The horror and abuse that these children undergo through is truly heartbreaking, and to have an entire city of girls who know that they are unwanted? Well, that's just wrong. Unfortunately, I believe that Forster failed to deliver on depth of the storyline. I was left unsatisfied because I thought that the author could have explored the world and inspired something thought-provoking. With the way the story is constructed, you could put Nisha in any environment and still retain the storyline.

Nisha was an okay protagonist, but it wasn't until the last leg of the book that she really shone in my eyes. Reading for me, is like playing a simulated game. As the characters do things, I also think to myself if I would do as the character has done, or if I could solve a bit of the mystery early on. For this book, I didn't feel motivated to feel involved with the story. I think what saved this book for me were the cats. I LOVED the cats, especially Jerrit. (I even kind of hoped that Nisha would get with a cat. Is that weird?) I am not big on cats, but if they were this cute, I would totally be a cat lady. 

Pacing of the story is okay, but some parts were a little humdrum. As I've said earlier, Forster could have explored the premise of the world a bit more. The book had such potential, but the only thing that it made me feel was cheated.

I'm giving this one a generous 3 out of 5 because of the cats and the premise it assumed. I can only hope that things improve with the second book.


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