Sunday, April 14, 2013

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

I originally wanted to read this book because I have a fear of dolls, so it sounded like a good creepy book. After reading the description, it still sounded pretty good. Plus, there might be dolls hidden and waiting to pop out and stab you, as dolls do. Now, I can tell you with full knowledge that there are no actual dolls in this book (Dolls being used as a term for girls). Just FYI for those seeking/avoiding books with actual dolls.

Anyways, with that out of the way, City of a Thousand Dolls is about a city of girls that grew of necessity. The kingdom enforced birth limits of two children, so there ended up being a whole lot of unwanted girl babies. They were all going to waste and being murdered by their parents, so the City was established. In the City, the unwanted girls are taught a trade (Beauty, Seduction, Healing, Assassin-ing) and then married off, apprenticed, or sent on their way to make it alone.

Nisha is different from the other girls because she was left at the gates at age 6, not as a baby. Because of this, she can't truly be a part of any House. Instead, she serves as errand girl for the City's Matron. Also, she talks to the stray cats that also occupy the city. (I have always been crazy about cats, so this was a big positive for me.)

There is even a boy interested in Nisha. He's a minor noble, and she hopes that he might purchase her during the big presentation ceremony/auction. Then, a girl turns up dead, and another, and another still. Nisha takes it upon herself to stop the killings. Some important political figures are planning to use the investigations to overthrow the Matron, maybe even dismantle the City.

Again, I am disappointed that this wasn't a post-apocalyptic tale where dolls have become sentient and murder folks. It wasn't too bad. I always love an assassin. The mystery wasn't horribly predictable. I had issues* with some plot developments near the end, but otherwise it was a good book.

*SPOILERS Nisha was really mad when the boy said he couldn't marry her after she sustains a permanent injury, but he offers to take her on as a mistress. I thought the guy made some legitimate points. It does still suck that he did that, but I understand. Also, she ends up dating her cat?!? The cat ends up being a shapeshifting human, which would be all kinds of weird, but it's still creepy to me. END SPOILERS

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