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City of a Thousand Dolls (Bhinian Empire #1)

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,768 Ratings  ·  561 Reviews
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 rum
...more
Hardcover, 359 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Harper Teen
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tatiana
Feb 10, 2013 Tatiana rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of juvenile fantasy
Shelves: ya, fantasy, 2013
As seen on The Readventurer

My first read of 2013 and, well, my advice is - skip it. I finished it so you don't have to. It is sad mostly because City of a Thousand Dolls is written so earnestly and with such good intentions. You can tell that the author meant this novel to be about diverse characters and diverse cultures. Too bad it's just not that great of a novel. It is simply lacking in sophistication and maturity.

City of a Thousand Dolls is another Asian-inspired fantasy which I would advise
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missART
Dec 09, 2012 missART rated it really liked it
Girl hangs out with cats, solves mysteries and kicks ass. Me gusta.
Blythe
To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure what urged me to read City of a Thousand Dolls the day it was released, or even at all. I'm not, and most likely never will be, a high fantasy fan, and usually steer clear of high fantasies in general, unless they've received positive reviews from many friends of mine. City of a Thousand Dolls did not receive very many positive reviews from friends of mine, so in retrospect, I honestly have no clue as to why I picked this one up. I suppose I was intrigue ...more
Cait Grace
This book put me to sleep. TWICE. I literally took a nap once I finished it because, gah, so bored. Anyhow. I'm mostly disappointed with it because a) it was really boring, but b) so much potential!! It's just one of those books where I though "Wow, I love this premise" and I expected great things. but it was cliche and average. It was full of sexism, despite being a fantasy world so ya know...endless options for things...but nope. We still had to go the average sexist route. And underdeveloped ...more
Julianna Helms
Jan 01, 2013 Julianna Helms rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of THE SELECTION and cardboard-cutout plots
Recommended to Julianna by: meselfz.
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**

Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)

I'm going to try really, really hard to make this review as gentle as I can let it be. But make no mistake: I did not, at all, like this book.

Let's just discard some misinformation first. That first line in the summary? "An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-sto
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Mitch
Feb 14, 2013 Mitch rated it it was ok
For me at least, City of a Thousand Dolls is a cautionary tale in style versus substance. Stylistically, this is a book that hits all the right notes - it’s rich and inviting and takes inspirations from several different Asian cultures to create a rather unique reading experience; it’s certainly not a book that lacks for world building. Yet at the same time, substantively, I really don’t feel the actual story lives up to the setting; behind the exotic fashions, the politicking, and the courtesan ...more
Elizabeth May
There's something quite nostalgic about Miriam Forster's CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS.

I've always been a reader -- a rather voracious one -- but I remember a span of years in my early teens when reading was pretty much all I did. I read at school, my books hidden between textbooks. I read when I got home, even during meals. I read before bed, often drifting off with my head on my books, because little else lulled me to sleep.

It's difficult for me to do that anymore. Perhaps because writing is my tr
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Soumi
Enriched with cultural details and patterned with vibrant descriptions, City of Thousand Dolls was an exotic fantastical story mingled with murder, mystery and ancient cults.

An isolated estate that gave refuge to orphan girl, abandoned after birth, and trains them in various arts such as music, dancing, combat etc. Sixteen years Nisha never belonged to any one particular house, making her way as Matron’s assistant. But when she began flirting with a handsome young courier, she dared to dream abo
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Cinda
Jun 27, 2012 Cinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, dystopian, blurbs
A fantastical murder mystery with a creative premise, heart-pounding pacing, and characters with secrets to keep.
Winnie
Mar 30, 2016 Winnie rated it it was amazing
So I finally finish reading this book Yesterday.. Or we this moring cuz I got stuck in it and actually finished it around 05 this morning/night xD This will also be quiet long review so lets get started!!

First of all I has to say that this is diffently one of my favorite books! I love it!!

Soo this is and world where girls is not wanted as much as boys because of a two children rule in the land. Then there is this city where the girls get trained to be wives and misstresses(?).

I love the main c
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Liviania
Feb 24, 2013 Liviania rated it really liked it
Miriam Forster's debut novel is glorious. Nisha is a resident of the City of a Thousand Dolls. The city is a walled-off district for unwanted female babies, where they are raised to be skilled members of society then sold to be wives, mistresses, apprentices, and more. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than exposure - so says the Matron, Nisha's mistress.

Nisha is more unwanted than most. She came to the city not as a baby, but a child. She has no caste. The Matron took her on as an as
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Jeanette
I think perhaps 4 1/2 stars for Miriam Forster's City of a Thousand Dolls.

It is a few days before the Redeeming and sixteen year old Nisha Arvi hopes fervently that the dashing noble Devan tar'Vey will speak for her but then girls begin to die within the City of the Thousand Dolls. With the help of her spotted-cat friends, Nisha must find the killer if she is to hope for a future. In the Bhinian Empire, a realm cut off from the rest of the world by a catastrophic magical apocalypse , unwanted g
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Princess Bookie
Feb 11, 2013 Princess Bookie rated it really liked it
My Thoughts: This was so different.

We are introduced to Nisha who lives in a little area called City Of A Thousand Dolls. It’s basically a small community where girls live who can be bought and who are trained in different areas.

Right from the get go, I knew this one would be unique. She can talk to cats. How awesome is that? She understands them, they understand her, how cool!

She is also seeing a young man who just happens to be royalty. She wants him to choose her as his wife.

Girls start dyin
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G.C. Nash
Jan 08, 2013 G.C. Nash rated it it was ok
Shelves: harper, didn-t-finish
I don't think I've ever been so disappointed. I thought for sure CITY would be amazing, that it would be a favorite of the year full of intriguing characters, luscious world building and fabulous fantasy plot threads.

Not so and I am sad, so regrettably sad to say it.

I DNF this one; by page 65 I felt I knew where the story was going, or better yet, where it wasn't going.

The narrator's voice was way too immature, and not in the way where you expect the MC to be set on a path of great growth, but
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the golden witch.
You know, you'd never think that high fantasy and a murder mystery would go together very well. In "City of a Thousand Dolls", Miriam Forester very successfully combines both elements of those genres to create an awesome high fantasy jaunt with talking cats, mysterious deaths, wandering nobles and girls being trained in special houses. If you liked "Grave Mercy", "Shadow and Bone", "Girl of Fire and Thorns" and/or "Graceling", I'm pretty sure you're going to love "City of a Thousand Dolls". I kn ...more
Fari
Even though at page 75-ish, I'd spoiled myself on who the killer was, it didn't make any difference! (mostly) I still quite enjoyed it and oh, how I loved the ending! This book is pretty awesome and there are so many things I liked about it (how there wasn't AS much romance, which made perfect sense here since people were DYING and stuff and how not everybody turned out to be super incredibly good (view spoiler) ...more
Abbie
Jun 24, 2014 Abbie rated it it was ok
City of a Thousand Dolls was okay to start with, but quickly became boring.

Nisha was an alright character, but she made some very silly decisions.

The pacing was just too slow for me. I wanted to know what happened, but i didn't want to read another 200 (or so) pages to find out!
It picked up a bit when the killer was revealed, and i was quite surprised... but i still wasn't liking the book very much unfortunately.

Overall, slow and boring.
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
I am going to be completely honest here. The sole reason I added this book to my TBR was because of that exquisite cover. It's so reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood movies ever that I knew I'd read it, no matter what it was really about. But with a gorgeous cover like that, there's little chance the book will be a big ole fail, right?



The story wasn't a failure...not really. It only failed at being the epic fantasy novel indicated by the cover, and the author even admits as much in her a
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Abbie
I was excited at first but all the names and terminology confused me. Then when I finally got the hang if the story I found myself in a slump of boredom. Soooo... it was just okay for me.
Kayla
Aug 18, 2012 Kayla marked it as to-read
DAT COVER.

DAT TITLE.

DAT BLURB.

DO WANT.
Safia
Apr 07, 2016 Safia rated it really liked it
Cats!!
Lots of cats!! I love cats! If there is something to know about me, it is that I love two things.
Books and cats. Well, books and animals.
But my furry girl at home is my absolute baby and I know for a fact I wouldn't be able to live a day without thinking of her.
I've OFTEN wanted to have the superpower of speaking to animals. Through their minds.
So, MAN, when I found that Nisha could communicate to cats I was like, "WOW, girl, you are LU-CKY!"
Gosh, so lucky. SO, so, so lucky.
Although
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Krystle
Apr 05, 2015 Krystle rated it liked it
I think the driving force behind this novel was the mystery behind the killer of the girls. The other elements of the story – world building, characterization, character relationships, romance – don’t really add too much of an engaging factor to the book.

I really liked Nisha’s determination to figure out who the killer was, even if some of her hasty conclusions were wrong or misguided. I loved that she always wanted to prove the innocence of someone even when the facts were screaming otherwise.
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Mel (Daily Prophecy)
http://thedailyprophecy.blogspot.com....

It’s very important that you go into this book with the right expectations. After some reviews I found out that this book is pitched as ‘fantasy,’ but there are not many fantasy elements. This gave me the chance to read this book for what it is: an entertaining story that made me curious for more.

Nisha has been abandoned at the gates of the City of a thousand dolls when she was eight years old. This is the place where unwanted girls grow up in order to gai
...more
Sarah
(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
This was an okay story, but it was really, really slow.

Nisha was a bit of a baffling character. At times she was stupid, she took ridiculous risks when she didn’t need too, and she also made some seriously suspect decisions. That being said she was also loyal (to a fault), she had faith in people (even if it was misplaced), and she liked things to be right, even if she had to sacrifice herself to try and make sure that this happened.

The storyline in this wasn
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Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 19, 2013 Dark Faerie Tales rated it liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: A girl who’s an outcast discovers her heritage while also trying to solve a murder mystery inside the City of a Thousand Dolls.

Opening Sentence: “Don’t move, Nisha.”

The Review:

I think the synopsis is a bit misleading. I started this book thinking it was going to be about a school that trained assassins or something to that degree, but instead, the book focused on a orphaned girl with a lot of secrets. The assassins are just a small tidbit
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Natalie Aguirre
Feb 05, 2013 Natalie Aguirre rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
When Miriam’s publisher sent the ARC to me at the November, I planned to save it to take on my trip to China. But then, I started looking at it and immediately began reading it. And I finished it in two days. It was that good.

Miriam did a fantastic job of creating the world of the City of a Thousand Dolls, with all the smaller houses that trained girls in specialized skills, like beauty, music, and pleasure that would be useful when potential suitors came to the City once a year looking for wive
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Nikki (Fiction Freak)
May 18, 2013 Nikki (Fiction Freak) rated it really liked it
Jumping straight in, the one issue I really had with City of a Thousand Dolls was Nisha. She was just so annoying and naive in my opinion. She thought she knew everything about the City and acted like such a know it all! And, even though I could understand why, it was annoying when she couldn't forgive herself for something someone had done to herself. She was too impulsive for my liking and I felt myself groaning in frustration so many times. She was so...hmm...
On the other hand I loved how she
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Katy
May 10, 2013 Katy rated it did not like it
also posted on my website: http://ablightedone.wordpress.com/201...

The summary sounds exciting but the book was disappointing. The entirely original, fantastical world doesn’t seem very original. There is an extreme class system, magic that used to be, mistreated women, and talking animals.

In Nisha’s world, there’s a two-child limit because resources are slim. People prefer boys because boys can be important and when they aren’t important, they can be apprentices. They have power and opportunity
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Jessie Potts

3.5 Stars

This book was cool, a nice read that I'm looking forward to seeing more of, I don't know if I was just super smart today but I totally called everything, who the killer was who Toc was, what would happen to Nisha and who Nisha was... I was so super smart I was ticking my husband and sister off by yelling 'called it!' and other things that would count as spoilers.


This was a fun YA read, for the younger crowd. i'm not talking middle school age, but the heroine seemed a bit young. It was
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Breda
Jan 19, 2013 Breda rated it really liked it
This is a solid, engaging fantasy novel in the vein of Tamora Pierce (more akin to her Circle series than the Tortall books). It's not groundbreaking or trendy, but it's full of likable characters, a fascinating and well-realized world, and a mystery that has more layers to it than appear at first glance. I enjoyed it!

It's also nice to find a satisfying standalone in this era of trilogies. And I'm not so much into talking animals - even by Tamora Pierce, my love for Daine notwithstanding - but I
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What the heck?! 1 24 Mar 31, 2015 07:53PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: City Of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster----> Restarting July 23rd 2014 26 29 Jun 25, 2014 10:50AM  
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Miriam Forster learned to read at the age of five, wrote her first story at the age of seven and has been playing with words ever since. Her debut novel, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is being published by HarperCollins.

In her daily life, Miriam is a wife, a terrible housekeeper and a dealer of words at the local bookshop. In her internal life, she imagines fight scenes, obsesses about anthropology, na
...more
More about Miriam Forster...

Other Books in the Series

Bhinian Empire (2 books)
  • Empire of Shadows (Bhinian Empire, #2)

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