22 February 2013

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

City of a Thousand Dolls  
Release Date: February 5, 2013 
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Bought
Goodreads Stars: 3
Rating: Enjoyable
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. 


  1. I haven't read many fantasy books with Asian influences so I've been looking for more to add to the list. This sounds a little on the meh side for me, but I'm glad you found enough to like about it to give it 3 stars. Great review, Amber!

    On a side note, I can't wait to see what you think of Pretty Girl 13. I've been curious about that book!

  2. Meh, I wrote a comment and then my internet decided to hate me so it disappeared. Anyway, I'll definitely be reading this for the cat shipping :D I'm a little disappointed it's not about assassins all that much though, like I thought it would be. Also, too bad the MC isn't as kick-ass as expected. But no one can really beat Rose Hathaway. Except maybe (probably) Scarlet Benoit *insert keyboard slamming here* :D

  3. Yeah I too thought it was a good book but . . . I expected much more to happen. Still, a very enjoyable book for me. Great review! :D

  4. Aw bummer that there aren't more assassins in this book. :( That kind of sucks! The culture sounds good though.

    Awesome review, but I'm thinking I might skip this book. It sounds like an "okay" story, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not going to run out and read it!

  5. I've heard mixed reviews about this one. From summary it sounds like this book is about assassins. It's a shame it's not because I love books about assassins too! I think I'm going to skip this one or at least hold off on reading it. Great review! :)

  6. Isn't so funny when the author makes everything so obvious, except the biggest twist? It's really annoying. After reading this review, I'm not sure if I would try out the book. :/

    I loved how you mentioned that she didn't discover herself. Characters are supposed to grow. Those epiphanies are what make the characters thicker.

    Haven't read an assassin book lately, but it seems to be the new YA craze. Bleh. Loved your thoughts, Amber!

  7. I know how excited you were for this book Amber so I'm sad it didn't get a higher rating. It does sound pretty interesting though especially this Cat ship! I may have to check it out just for that!

  8. I've wondered about this one. I'm not sure this is going to be for me from the sounds of it. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  9. The fact that the world-building is actually a mix of several cultures is something I really like. The mystery sounds great, but how sad that there are no assassins. They are awesome in books (but creepy in real life, I agree) Nisha sounds okay. No connection but still rooting for her isn't THAT bad. I think I will like this one, so I hope that I have the chance to pick it up soon! :)


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