For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her Soundless village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.
Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon. She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever… (via Goodreads)
I’ve been a fan of Richelle Mead’s for a while, but realized I hadn’t read Soundless when I went to the library to pick up her newest book, The Glittering Court, and found that it wasn’t in stock currently. Soundless was published on November 10, 2015 by Razorbill and is a stand alone novel.
Mead’s books are usually a big hit or very ‘meh’ to me. I absolutely love the Vampire Academy and Age of X books, but never got into the Succubus books. Soundless unfortunately hit the ‘meh’ mark.
One of Mead’s usual strengths is her world building. You see it in her Vampire Academy and Age of X series’, but we never really got immersed in Fei’s life in Beiguo, or learned why things are the way they are. “It’s just the way things are” is almost never an acceptable reason for anything, particularly a marital caste system and a food distribution system.
I think Soundless had the ability to be really good, but everything felt rushed to me. This novel could have easily been another 50-100 pages and I would have been happier with it. There wasn’t a lot of character development for any of the characters, even with the romance aspect that should have made readers feel torn, but really only managed to annoy me. Fei became an artist, and immediately said “this is just the way things are, we can’t be together.” What kind of romance doesn’t even try? Come on, y’all. Make an effort.
It’s supposed to be immersed in Chinese folklore and mythology, but you don’t really get immersed in anything in this novel. I did like that it used sign language, which you don’t see a lot in fictional worlds, and the general premise was really interesting. Overall, though, I just wanted more explanation of everything. That’s why I have to give this a rating of 3 stars. It was good, but not great.