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City of a Thousand Dolls


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About the Author

Miriam Forster is a recovering barista and former bookseller who is obsessed with anthropology, British television, and stories of all kinds. She lives in Oregon with her husband and her cat. City of a Thousand Dolls was her debut novel.


"Set in a magically isolated Empire, Forster's well-crafted story and confident prose are rich, packed with small details that immerse readers in her sumptuously imagined world." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A fantastical murder mystery with a creative premise, heart-pounding pacing, and characters with secrets to keep." -- Cinda Williams Chima,author of the best-selling Seven Realms series "The mystery here is a fine one, and the concept of the City is well executed. As Nisha must choose between remaining within the cloistered safety of the City or taking her chances with the outside world, her dilemma will be familiar to teens looking toward adulthood." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "With fantastic world building and a wonderful heroine, City of a Thousand Dolls intrigued me from the first page." -- Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix

Gr 8 Up-The two-child law has existed in the Bhinian Empire since the Second Lotus Emperor restored order. Since then, abandoned infant girls have found a place in the City of a Thousand Dolls, learning skills in one of eight Houses. Nisha, 16, was left at the estate at age 6. Too old to join a House, she became the eyes and ears of the Matron, a useful skill in what is now a time of political intrigue. The home educates and grooms girls for the Redeeming, where money is paid to secure a girl as an apprentice, assistant, mistress, or wife. Each girl hopes to avoid becoming a free servant, or worse, a bond slave. This debut novel imagines a world of magic, gently influenced by historical Japan, China, and India. Girls in the House of Flowers train to join the nobility; the House of Beauty emphasizes loveliness and art, the House of Pleasure is for mistresses and courtesans (girls must volunteer to train there). Healers and scholars train in the House of Jade, and somewhere on the estate exists the House of Shadows. When a girl turns up dead, Nisha and several cats (with whom she communicates telepathically) begin to investigate. There are tea ceremonies, fan dances, combat lessons, a romance with a man of a higher caste, more deaths, and a run-in with the Kildi before everything draws to a close. The plot ranges far and wide and some important characters lack development. The three pages listing dramatis personae help keep straight the eight houses, five castes, court members, sentient animals, and Kildi. However, deep descriptions of any one House or caste are sacrificed, which may frustrate some readers. Consider for larger collections or where fantasy is very popular.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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