Saturday, February 8, 2014

Listen-Up - City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Published: February 5th, 2013
Publisher: Books on Tape
Copy: e audio through library and Overdrive.
Summary: Goodreads

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'm finding listening to books a little bit of a challenge right now.  I changed locations at work, and while I used to have about 40 minutes a day in the car to listen to books, now I have about a 6 minute walk - maybe 8 if I get stuck at the cross-walk, and that's both ways included.  See my problem?  I've tried listening at home, but there is so much else going on with other people in the house that it's just not the same experience. It took so long to finish that I have to admit that I don't remember many  of the details and names, so this is really just a mini-review.

That said, I enjoyed City of a Thousand Dolls. Narrated by Sharon McManus, the story is about an orphan, Nisha, who is tasked by her mentor to help solve three murders.  There is the added complication that Nisha has no idea of her own background and is trying to find out about herself at the same time.  In the course of her investigations, Nisha manages to alienate her only real friend.  I was upset at her for this, but ultimately I understood why she did what she did.  As for the love interest - whose name I admit to having forgotten - I never liked him, and was furious at his actions and glad he got his come-uppance.

This was an interesting story, with a definite oriental slant to it and the addition of  shadow cats added an extra dimension that I loved.  There are shape shifters involved and some interesting caste dynamics. While I did work out some of the murder aspects of the story, the cats took me by surprise and that arc of the story made me smile. I will admit that my fractured listening definitely affected my enjoyment, but overall I enjoyed the story.  If you're a fan of historical fantasy mystery, then give it a try.

The lesson here - don't pick up an audio book if you can only listen for 3-4 minutes at a time.

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