Title: City of a Thousand Dolls
Author: Miriam Forster
Series: Bhinian Empire #1
Published: 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers
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.
“’Don’t move, Nisha.’ The words were playful, but the sharp slash of light along the blade of the throwing dagger was not.”
Oh my goodness. City of a Thousand Dolls blew me away. I absolutely loved everything about this book and I NEED the sequel. Now.
Nisha was abandoned as a child in the City of a Thousand Dolls. Orphan girls are brought up to be great at a particular skill that will make them useful as wives or workers in various fields. Nisha did not get the chance to join one of the groups, so she runs errands and helps out. Suddenly girls are being mysteriously murdered, and Nisha is best placed to gather evidence and quickly try to figure out the connections between the victims, while trying to figure out her own personal life.
Combine murder mystery with fantasy awesomeness and you have this book. I think it is one of the greatest combinations ever. The mystery is complex, perplexing, and unpredictable. I think I only predicted one plot twist in the entire book (and there are quite a few!).
Nisha is a wonderful heroine! She is determined to solve the mystery and stop these killings. Going to the far edges of the City, she does everything she can to figure it out. Many times endangering her own life in the process. Also, this book takes Nisha on a HUGE journey of self-discovery. What is she good at? How can she relate to her friends? Will a boy want to marry her? Why did her parents abandon her? And she is a boss and figuring these out. She never gives up until she has her answers.
Um, so the “talking” cats were just about the coolest part in the whole book. I want one! Also, I could so easily visualize this City and each House and the paths and mazes and walls. The setting had incredible detail and vivid imagery. Perfect.
This book series can go so many places with this amazing world Miriam Forster created. I know she’s writing a sequel and I’m calling it: it’s going to be so amazing that it will blow this book out of the water. She is a creative storyteller and anything she writes, I would read.
Content Warning: Nothing