SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
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.
Goodreads Rating: 3.36/5 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
~Merry Christmas everyone!~
Soundless is a book that has been on my to be read list for a while, and seeing as I had an early Christmas with one side of my family, I finally got my hands on a copy of this standalone novel. I’m a huge fan of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, so it’s only fitting that I read some of her other work as well. This book was a very fast read, seeing as it only has 266 pages, and took me about 2.5 hours to read in total. Also, the cover and inner book art was gorgeous – probably some of the best I’ve seen paired with Richelle Mead novels. However, because it was so short, it was lacking in many areas.
Surprisingly, the strongest areas I saw were in themes and characterization. Throughout the novel, I could see Richelle bringing out important messages for her readers. Some of these themes included: perseverance, bravery, and the importance of family and community. For myself, it’s always fun to be able to tease out these themes and analyze them for importance to the novel (Wow, do I sound like an English major or what?). These themes played important roles when it came to our two heroes, Fei and Li Wei.
When it came to these two heroes, they surprised me in varying ways. At times their decisions felt rash and sudden, but we could also see their deeply rooted history and loyalty for each other. The story was told in first person perspective through Fei, but I feel that the story could have been even stronger if it was told through both of their perspectives. In that way, we could have had the ability to explore the culture of the world and the different hardships both characters have faced. Overall, both characters had their own strengths and weaknesses that helped to push the plot along.
Nevertheless, there was one crucial aspect that I found myself commenting along the entire time I read the book: Where is the description? For the most part, I felt myself reaching to try to build some sort of imagery for myself. There wasn’t details given about Fei’s hometown, or the mountain, or anything of the like. This made it difficult when she changed locations and kept trying to make contrasts between Fei’s home and the world around her – how are we to know the difference when no foundation has been laid? The setting was empty and what description we got was very basic, which made the book feel as if it was written by an amateur and not a bestselling author. In addition, the description factor was excluded from the characters, as well. Description is something that readers desperately need to help make connections with the book, so I was disappointed to see that lacking so deeply from the novel.
Finally, I found that I was walking away with more questions than answers. I believe this ties back to the lack of description given, but it was still disappointing to be utterly confused by the novel. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the basic plot of it, but none of the world was explained for the reader. Richelle would mention something once and then we were expected to understand what it meant. She also brought in Chinese and Taiwanese lore to the novel, but that didn’t occur until the end and went with next-to-no explanation for the reader. I found myself reaching for my phone to research terms instead of finding the answers in the pages of the novel.
Due to loving Richelle Mead’s other books, I found it hard to be giving this book a 3.5/5 Stars. The rating on Goodreads also doesn’t steer a reader wrong with this novel. While I have a love for Asian culture and history, this book definitely did not do that justice in the least. With a few more drafts, this book definitely would have produced stronger content and story for a reader. Although we’ll have to take it as it is, I can’t help but want more from it.
“Perfection is an admirable thing to strive for. But so is knowing when to stop.”
― Richelle Mead,