Published by Razorbill on 11/10/15
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Asia
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
In a village without sound…
For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her 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.
One girl hears a call to action…
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…
And unlocks a power that will save her people.
Welcome to our first dual review here at Feed Your Fiction Addiction! My mom and I are both going to share our thoughts on the book Soundless. Hopefully you’ll enjoy getting two different perspectives!
This is the first time I have written a review and I’m both excited and a little overwhelmed.
This book is about a village of people who are all deaf. They have no idea why their community has been totally deaf for generations. They live on the top of a mountain cut off from the rest of the world. Rock slides have blocked their paths off the mountaintop and there is no fertile ground so they have no resources for food. They survive by mining and sending the precious metals down to the village below via a zipline in return for small amounts of food, barely enough to survive.
There are three jobs: Artist, Miner and Supplier. They receive their food rations based on their stations. Artists receive the most food since they are considered the most valuable. They go out & observe what was happening and then paint pictures to tell everyone the news of the day. These paintings are then kept as a history of their village.
They really had no idea how other people outside of their village lived, or even how many other people there were. They knew their village was very poor and small and assumed other villages were the same.
My favorite aspect of the story was seeing the world through the eyes of someone who was deaf. I’ve always been fascinated by deafness – I have an uncle who’s Deaf, so I learned some sign language as a child and I learned some about Deaf culture (unfortunately, my uncle lived in FL while we were in IL, so I only got to see him a few days a year). But I really love to imagine a world without sound and what it would be like.
I have to point out that the society portrayed in this book isn’t based on Deaf culture – it’s Mead’s made up fantasy world. Some Deaf people might not appreciate the fact that deafness is portrayed as such a hardship – but I do have to say that, in the more primitive world that these characters lived in, it very well might be harder to deal with the lack of one of your senses. Plus, since the whole village suddenly went deaf all at once for unexplained reasons, you could understand why they would see it as a mysterious and difficult disability.
Fei & Li Wei are the two main characters. They are both very strong & determined people.
Fei is one of the artists. I really enjoyed her character. She showed great courage, but did not think of herself as being brave. She thought of her sister first & always tried to take care of her. She never let other people talk her out of doing what she thought was best to help her village survive.
Li Wei is a miner. He was also determined to help his village. He often called himself a barbarian. Just as Fei put her sister first he put Fei first. He didn’t always make the best decisions but he was heroic.
I was a fan of the two main characters as well. I really loved that Fei saw the world through an Artist’s eyes and I thought it was interesting that Li Wei was an artist in his own way too – but since he was an Artist (who documented life for the people of the town), his art was considered less “valuable.” Fei often struggled with the idea that art was only valuable if it was useful – she wanted to make art for beauty’s sake!
Fei was very determined but sometimes a bit idealistic. I don’t think she fully realized the danger she was putting herself in by leaving her village and seeking help – the reality that Li Wei and Fei faced was much different than they had ever imagined!
Although the people are Chinese, they could be from anywhere. Other than their names and bowing, there are very few references to their Chinese heritage.
I agree. There were references to the clothing and some of the rules of etiquette, but I think there could have been more reference to the Chinese culture. I did love the fantasy aspect of the setting though – the tiny mountain village that’s completely cut off from the world (and I loved seeing the outside world once Li Wei and Fei discovered it!)
At times the story was somewhat predictable, but I was ok with that. I’ve read several one star reviews that say this book is boring. I did not find it boring at all. I found it to be one of those books that you can pick up and read in a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed it!
I found a couple of places in the middle of the book (when Fei and Li Wei were on their journey) to be a tiny bit slow, but I wasn’t really getting bored. I read the book relatively quickly too, and overall enjoyed the whole thing!
The Bottom Line
Gay (it feels really weird for me to call my mom that) gave the book 4 stars. I think I would have been waffling between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I’m going for 4 stars overall.
Well, this was our first joint review. We’re still kind of figuring this process out, but hopefully you’ll be seeing more of this (and maybe an occasional review just from my mom!).
About the Author
Richelle Mead has written over twenty-five novels for teens and adults. She is the author of the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series and its spinoff series, Bloodlines. Her recent standalone novel, Soundless, draws upon Chinese mythology and history, and her forthcoming series, The Glittering Court, follows the adventures of girls destined for arranged marriages in a fantasy world inspired by colonial America. A lifelong reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses to wear on tour. She is a self-professed coffee addict, works in her pajamas, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is hard at work on her next novel.