Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

I will admit that I wasn't quite sure what to expect with The Walled City. I guess I didn't read the description very well because I was expecting some sort of Maze Runner situation. You know, monsters and dystopia and all that newfangled mishmash. As much as I like a good dystopia, part of me does tire of the multitudes of similar stories. This book contains no supernatural monsters, just real ones.

The Walled City was originally a military fort, but years later the lack of police made it a haven of gambling, drugs, and prostitution. Three characters narrate the story, and eventually interact with each other.

Jin is a young girl who is searching for her older sister, who has been sold into prostitution by their father. She disguises herself as a boy for protection. Her plan is to become a drug runner and search the brothels for her sister.

Dai is a young man who encounters Jin. They team up after Dai realizes how fast Jin is. He is in the city to amend for some crime he committed. Now he works for the police, finding evidence to convict the drug dealers before the Walled City is demolished. He gets a beautiful girl in the brothel to help him and ends up falling in love with her.

Mei Yee is that girl, and also Jin's sister. She is lucky, or so she is told. Her rich client pays extra for exclusive rights to her, and he will likely end up buying her way out of the brothel. Still, Mei is unsatisfied with her life, with the possibility of leaving the brothel for a hotel room, one prison for another. She wants to be free, wants to see the ocean with Dai.

The Walled City was an exciting and action-packed book. It stands out from most action books I've seen, which are more supernatural/dystopian. Actually, it's based on a real place called Kowloon Walled City. It's a very good book full of sympathetic, brave characters, and I very much recommend it.  

I received my copy of The Walled City from the Goodreads First Reads program, as well as from Edelweiss, courtesy of Little, Brown. It's available for purchase now.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer

Pride and Prejudice is one of those stories that I know backwards and forwards by now. I've read the book, seen the movies, even read/seen some of the updates with zombies/Hugh Grants.

The Season is loosely based on P&P, set in present day Texas. Our Lizzie Bennett is now Megan. She aspires to be a professional soccer player. Soccer is the center of her life, but she doesn't have much time left to earn a spot on a professional team. Of course, Megan is surprised, in a bad way, to find out that her mother signed her up for the Bluebonnet Debutante Season. This is something that her girly twin sister Julia would be good at, not Megan. Because their family is a legacy, they both made it into the season's debs.

At the very first Bluebonnet meeting, Megan makes a terrible impression by arriving 20 minutes late. Their debutante coach basically tells her to throw in the towel. There is no way she will make it as a Bluebonnet. As much as Megan didn't want to participate, she asks to stay because her father asked her to do it for her mother. She is allowed to stay, but she only has a month to improve.

The Bluebonnets are a very wealthy group. The girls must each throw a party with a theme and sell tables to said party. The tables cost thousands of dollars, and the money goes to an organization that each girl will choose. Between designer outfits, party preparations, and tickets to each party, the debs have to spend a large amount of money. It's a burden on Megan and Julia's parents, who have been struggling at their ranch, even after factoring in the money that their grandma left for their debut.

At the first party, thrown by their cousin Abby, Megan makes yet another bad impression. She was punched at a soccer game right before the party, and must attend with a black eye. In jest, she tells her escort that she was mugged. This ends up being all everyone talks about, even though Megan eventually sets the record straight. The coach eventually talks with her about how improper that was, taking attention on Abby's big night, and she makes a lot of sense.

In a sudden death move, Megan decides to sign up for a class on manners taught by the coach. She soon discovers that the course is for elementary school students. In spite of this, she sees it through and gains a bit of respect. Julia ends up falling for the brother of the witchiest deb, the Charles Bingley, or Zach, as he is called here. The sister is dating, practically engaged to the Mr. Darcy, Andrew Gage. Megan strikes up a romance with the charming Hank Waterhouse, our dangerous George Wickham facsimile. Hank not only romances Megan, he also convinces her father to sell their ranch to his obviously Big Evil Corporation.

Julia ends up having trouble with an ex-boyfriend, trouble that ends with a police chase. She resigns from the Bluebonnets, so it's up to Megan to uphold the family legacy. Unfortunately, Zach breaks it off with Julia, on advice from Andrew! After all the terrible things that Hank has said as well, Megan has quite a bone to pick with him.

Of course, it will not surprise anyone who has read the original that it's mostly a big misunderstanding. He's got pride, and she's got prejudices, and vice versa. They eventually come to a mutual understanding. It's all happily ever after.

I received my copy of The Season through the Goodreads First Reads program. It's available for purchase now.