City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published Feb. 5th, 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Amazon Vine
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.
Okay, so this is one of those incredibly difficult reviews to write. I'm going to try my best to get my points across but bear with me as I really have a lot of mixed feelings.
I love fantasy books and discovering new worlds is always so much fun. I think that Miriam Forster had some fantastic ideas and created a great world, but somehow it lacked some 'oomph' and really, I don't know any other way to say it because there's nothing specific about the world that I didn't like. I thought it was all a great idea, it just needed more.
I really liked the character, Nisha. She was kind and caring and a truly good person who would do anything for her friends. She also had this incredible ability to talk to the spotted cats that inhabit the City and no one else could (one of the many mysteries we desire to find out in the book). She made some stupid decisions but only one was flat out ridiculously stupid so I could overlook most of them, just that one was like "WHAT?!" Yeah, not a smart choice. She's clearly a tad naive, but yet she knows more what's going on in the city then most.
The other characters played their roles well but I wouldn't say I ever felt like I really knew any of them. They were all unpredictable to me because I didn't know if they might be the bad guy. The thing is, I'm not sure if this is a bad thing. The ones I did love were the cats. Jerritt and Esmer were amazing characters and most definitely my favorites in the book.
The mysteries were what kept me reading. I was pretty bored through the majority of it. I felt like we were going in circles and not really discovering anything. I struggled to pick up the book. But I was really curious about who was killing the girls that were ending up dead, and why they were. Obviously there were secrets, I wanted to know them. I also wanted to know Nisha's heritage as she had been dropped off as a child and it's clear that's an important part of the story, finding out who she really is. So I continued reading and was never able to figure out the mysteries (though bits and pieces were obvious, it wasn't close to the whole story) and was very happy and satisfied with how it all played out in the end.
I also liked how the romance ended up going. This isn't something that can be talked about too much, but it definitely worked the way I would have wanted it to go and left me with a big smile on my face.
Overall I liked the book okay. The first half would maybe be a 2 star book as I really was tempted to set it down and not finish. But as a few things FINALLY started to come together I found myself more interested in how it all went and really anxious for Nisha to get her mysteries solved. I also liked that everything wrapped up. There are no loose ends and it reads like a stand alone (not sure if it is or not). So I'm bumping this up to 3 stars because some of it really was good, I just had to get past being bored much of the time.