Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Goodreads Stars: 3
Buy the Book: Amazon UK
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. - Goodreads
The plot contained a lot of mystery and very little action. The mystery was good, someone was killing girls in the City of a Thousand Dolls, and Nisha was trying to find the culprit. I had no idea who the killer was going to be up until the reveal, so Miriam Forster did a great job with that. Unfortunately there were some other twists in there that I saw coming from a mile away. So while the novel was a bit predictable, the major plot was rather surprising!
I was led to believe that City of a Thousand Dolls would be more about assassins. I love assassins in fiction (they're kind of scary in real life, let's be honest) and was really looking forward to reading about them in all their awesome glory. Sadly, they barely make an appearance, and the two scenes that they were in didn't show them to be amazing hunters of the shadows at all.
I really enjoyed the world building, and how the Indian, Chinese, and Japanese cultures were mixed in together. In particular, I liked how the author worked China's one child policy into the novel, and how a lot of the citizens wanted to get rid of it. There are a lot of fantasy novels set in or based on Britain, and I have never read any that include Asian influences before. The whole setting was great and I felt fully immersed in it.
I wasn't very connected to Nisha, the main character, but I did find myself rooting for her. She wasn't a terrible main character, she just wasn't one that stood out to me. She wasn't a Rose Hathaway in the slightest.
I was hoping that Nisha would discover more about herself, rather than just her family. Self discovery is something I always look forward to in novels and movies and shows alike. There are things that were revealed towards the end that I would have liked to have seen play a big part in the climax of the story, but unfortunately the reveals were just kind of there.
I would also have liked to have seen more on Nisha's parents and their backstory. Is there going to be a companion novel? The whole mystery surrounding the two of them is really intriguing, and I was a little sad that we didn't learn EVERYTHING about them.
The ending as a whole didn't feel like anything ground-breaking. I was hoping for Nisha to make significant changes to the world this novel is set in, which is run by men and the women are basically inferior, however Nisha only really changed the way that the City of a Thousand Dolls was run.
The thing that I'm going to remember about this book is that I spent the entire novel shipping Nisha with a cat. I don't really want to go into details, because without spoilers this could become very awkward very quickly. Let's just say that I feel justified in my shipping of the pairing, okay?
Overall, City of a Thousand Dolls was a good novel, but I wasn't left feeling completely satisfied by the end. I did enjoy my cat/Nisha ship, though. That was a lot of fun.