City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Bhinian Empire, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Hardcover
Source: Author
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

I love how fantasy novels have the power to transport us to worlds beyond our imaginations. City of a Thousand Dolls was not only captivating, but absolutely breathtaking. When it comes to fantasy, I'm always looking for that gorgeous world building, and Miriam Forster certainly does not disappoint.
One aspect that I found particularly interesting in this novel was the mix of other cultures. The fact that some of the characters had a name of Indian origin, for example, such as the main character Nisha and the villain Akash, or the clothes worn by the many characters, like asars. Just the mix of traditions really helped to create a unique reading experience, one very different and that stands out in the world of YA.

The characters were absolutely intriguing– such an array of personalities, and the different ways they interact with one another. I found it a great balance between the characters and the plot, so neither were driving the story one more than the other, but I found myself interested in learning more about the people in the City of a Thousand Dolls.

Nisha was a great character! I truly enjoyed reading about the murders and the mystery in this strange city through her eyes. I enjoyed reading about her emotions, and completely empathized with her. I enjoyed reading about her forbidden romance with a very attractive Devan. Most of all: I enjoyed reading about her own journey, to finding out about her past and what happened to her parents.

❝His eyes lingered on Nisha for a heartbeat, a glance she felt like a physical touch on her skin.❞
p. 94

Speaking of Devan, I was quite taken with him for the majority of the book. Of course reading through Nisha's eyes, we can see how much she feels for him, and how dangerous it would be if someone found out about their relationship. However, my feelings for him don't stay as constant... especially when Tac comes around.

What I also found really interesting was the addition of cats to this story. Nisha has this ability to talk to the cats and understand them. I thought it was quite adorable with some of the cat motions, and how touching it is that they're always looking out for her. Jerrit and Esmer are so sweet, for guarding over her at night, and when the murders happen more and more. I'm a dog person, but the cats definitely won me over in this novel!

❝Nisha sat up. Her skin was damp with sweat, and her hair stuck to the back of her neck. Her tiny, windowless room was hot and suffocating. Trapped.❞
p. 127

This was a delicious murder mystery. I seriously gobbled it up– I had no idea it would turn out to be the person it was in the end! My guesses landed completely off, and I found that I couldn't actually guess after some point. Forster undoubtedly will have you wondering like crazy about who's behind the murders, and she creates this brilliant plot which will have you gaping at the end, wonder how in heck you missed it.

One word to sum up City of a Thousand Dolls? Spectacular. I was awed from start to finish, and definitely will be first in line to get my hands on the sequel. Miriam Forster has crafted a remarkable debut, one which will have readers of all ages hungry for more.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Miriam Forster for sending a copy of City of a Thousand Dolls for review and BTG2013! ▪ ▪ ▪

If you like this, try...

  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo ● Goodreads
  • The Pledge by Kimberly Derting Goodreads
  • Enchanted by Alethea Kontis Goodreads

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  1. I agree with you! When I want fantasy, I want a gorgeous world building. I love how the names of characters are Indian since I am an Indian myself. ;) I've been seeing this book around a lot and I'm glad you found it interesting and enjoyed it! Awesome review, Rabiah!

    And I just saw your About Me page... You have Indian origins! *high five*

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  2. Wow, this seriously sounds fantastic. This book wasn't really on my radar, until now, of course. It's been a while since I've been able to truly enjoy a dystopian/fantasy book with some great world-building, so the fact that this actually has fantastic world-building is so enticing. Not to mention the mix of cultures! That's always fascinating to read about. And this romance sounds quite swoon-worthy as well. ;)

    Lovely review! I'm definitely going to have to pick this one up now, it sounds too spectacular to miss out on!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  3. I enjoyed this book a lot too-I thought it was an amazing fantasy and I especially loved the talking cats and the bit of romance.

  4. So glad this worked for you! It has a lot of quirky elements, you know?


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