Wednesday, March 25, 2015

City of A Thousand Dolls

Pages: 359
Source: Library

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
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.

Hello everyone! Today I've got my review for City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster which I've been meaning to review for the past two weeks...Fun fact, I first heard of this book when the book trailer appeared in my YouTube dash and I wanted to read it then but never got around to until I was browsing my library shelves and found it. Needless to say I borrowed it and read it as fast as I can and now I'm here to share my thoughts~

Nisha lives in the City of a Thousand Dolls, an estate for girls who have been abandoned by their parents. The girls are trained to be scholars, musicians, courtesans, and even assassins. As Nisha was abandoned at an older age, she was not able to fit herself into a specific house and ended up becoming the Matron's messenger and ears around the city. She's never imagined life outside the city gates until she finds herself falling in love with a young courier from one of the kingdom's most affluent families. However, before she can even dream of a different life, murders start occurring within the city. Under the Maton's permission, Nisha goes to investigate the deaths with the help from her friends, a spotted cat tribe, but as she gets closer to finding the truth, she also gets closer to meeting her death.

The world is very fascinating with a complex history that you get snippets of from historical texts that are spread throughout the book. There is a birth limit of two children per family so many people will often leave their daughters at the City of a Thousand Dolls so that they can raise two sons to carry on family business. In some sense that seems very cruel, but the city trains the girls in specific houses that fits their talents and interests. Eventually,  the girls will be sold to the highest bidder at the Redeeming Ceremony where they will leave the city and start the lives they've trained to live since arrival. I wish we could have gotten some more insight in regards to the royal family. We did get to see the Prince who seemed a bit spoiled but at the same time generally good hearted, but nothing more than that.

Nisha was a pretty decent character though there were definitely times where she seemed to stumble. There are several moments where she breaks down in tears because everything has become too much to handle (trust me girl, I've been there too). However, in the end, I sort of attributed that "weak" quality in her to represent how she was missing a part of herself: her identity basically. After she found out about her history and her parents, you could see her grow in confidence and character because now she's whole. Despite being naive at certain times, she very brave and willing to take the job of searching the murders and doesn't stop even when her life becomes endangered.

The mystery in the story is very compelling but takes a while to really build up momentum. At the beginning when the first murder occurred, true the City was in disarray trying to find the culprit, but I didn't exactly feel heart pounding excitement or fear. It just didn't seem that interesting, but as the story progressed and you start to develop attachments to the characters, that's when things got interesting. I would still rate this pretty low on the mystery/thriller scale with maybe a 3 or 4 out of 10, but in some cases it did help to give the story a push and lull.

I have to talk about the spotted cat tribe because I literally loved them. We only really get to know two of them: Esmer and Jerrit. Esmer is this mother figure cat who really helps to guide and protect Nisha, as a mother would, throughout the story. She becomes the role model that Nisha never got to see in her own mother. Then there's Jerrit who I absolutely adored! He's Nisha's best friend and he's so supportive and an important for Nisha. I don't want to spoil much but he's literally amazing! 

Of course there are other characters such as Nisha's best human friend and future Princess, the Matron, Josei the Mistress of Combat, the Mistress of Shadows, and Devon. To sum them all up, they were pretty well crafted characters and stayed true to their nature. I just have to talk a bit about Devon because as far as book boyfriends go, he sucks. You start out rooting for them because it's a bit taboo for a nobleman like himself to love a servant girl in the city, but at the end you're just like "No, please." The House Mistresses and the Matron played important roles in guiding Nisha throughout the story but I still think that Esmer is the ultimate mother figure.

Then there's the solution to the mystery. I will admit I didn't see it coming because it's never revealed why the girls were killed until the very end when the murderer confessed. I definitely suspected the accomplice in the situation because that person just seemed creepy and a jerk from the start.

Overall, I really liked this book. The beginning was interesting, the middle a bit slow, but at the end everything seems to come together and it's amazing! I'm still thinking over my final rating of this book, it's somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 but as of right now I'm definitely rounding it up!

3.95 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

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