Edition: Paperback, 266 pages
Published By: Penguin Books
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 2 stars
Completed: 20th April 2017
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.
I was already fully aware that this book has a lot of mixed review – mostly negative, which is the reason why I wasn’t that interested in reading it because I trust the reviews. However this was a Christmas gift so I had to read it. My friend knew I enjoyed the Vampire Academy series a lot and thought I’d like this one. I thought oh its only 266 pages; it can’t be that bad, right? It was.
To summarise the plot, Soundless is set in an Asian fantasy world. Our main character is called Fei and she lives on top of the mountains amongst other villagers, but for a long time there has been no sound in this village. There are three classes: the artists, miners and suppliers. The people in this village get their food on a zip line from below the mountains in exchange for metals from the miners. However villagers are beginning to lose their sight and the food from the zip line is decreasing.
Fei sounds like a very well rounded character who would do anything for the people she cares about but she was such a flat and dull character that I didn’t care. She had no personality and I couldn’t connect with her. One night Fei has a strange dream and the next day, she can magically hear. Why her? There was absolutely no explanation as to why only she can hear and no one else. It’s just so laboriously typical that it’s the main character is the chosen one and the one to save everyone.
The romance – I saw it coming but I was so bored at that point it that I didn’t care. Fei and Li Wei were hopelessly in love before the story even began. This book was the anatomy of boring because there was no character development, no interesting backstory, no explanation of any mythology or Chinese folklore (that would have been more interesting) and nothing at all to keep me wanting to read on. The summary sounds more interesting then the book itself.
The plot was all over the place! It didn’t make any sense. What gets me is that villagers are deaf but it didn’t sound like they were even signing to one another, it sounded more like they were communicating telepathically because the text is in italics and I don’t know how they manage to sign with such high vocabulary (but correct me if I’m wrong). Also, I don’t know how Fei manages to ‘overhear’ a conversation if she’s deaf – she needs to see it, not overhear. The ending though – let’s not even go there. It was perhaps the weirdest thing to have happened because it came out of nowhere.
I knew I wouldn’t enjoy this book and my low expectations were met. Even though the story was not executed very well, the only good thing I can say is that I admire that Richelle Mead stepped out of her comfort zone to write about Asian characters, especially deaf as a disability in a fantasy world. It was nice to see diversity in YA but overall I wouldn’t recommend this. It had so much potential that didn’t deliver. Thank god it was only a standalone.
2 stars out of 5