City of a Thousand Dolls

Miriam Forster. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-0621-2130-1
Forster makes a strong debut with a fresh South Asian–inspired fantasy/mystery crossover. Abandoned as a child, 16-year-old Nisha Arvi has grown up within the private walled estate known as the City of a Thousand Dolls. There, orphaned or unwanted girls are raised in six specialized houses to be wives, courtesans, artists, entertainers, healers, or soldiers. As Matron’s assistant, Nisha isn’t part of any House, but she dreams of being Redeemed from the city by a handsome young man. Just as her wish seems within reach, the deaths of several girls make Nisha a valuable pawn, now destined to be sold as a slave. With time running out, Nisha tries to find out what happened to the girls, uncovering her own lost past along the way. Set in a magically isolated Empire with a strict caste system, a two-child limit, and telepathic cats, Forster’s well-crafted story and confident prose are rich, packed with small details that immerse readers in her sumptuously imagined world. The ending has a touch of deus ex machina, but readers will gladly follow Forster into a presumed sequel. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 02/01/2013
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FORMATS
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-212131-8
Book - 978-0-06-227728-2
Book - 978-0-385-36139-2
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-06-212132-5
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