Publication Date: November 10, 2015
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. 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 and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...
Hello everyone! Welcome to my review for Soundless which releases TODAY so be sure to go with it a happy birthday on social media and pick it up if it interests you! I got the chance to read this book all the way back in June because Claudia and I went to Richelle Mead's signing at BookCon and we got an ARC. (Watch the vlog HERE) Anyway, it's been a while so I've forgotten some things, but here are my general thoughts:
The first thing that caught my attention about Soundless was the cover. While I'm not a fan of covers that have a girl posing this cover has my stamp of approval for the simple fact that the girl is Asian. All my book modeling dreams have been granted with this cover (just kidding.) The mere concept that Soundless was based on Chinese folklore had me super excited just because it's not an idea most authors explore.
I've read multiple reviews supporting both sides of the argument as to how Richelle Mead handled weaving Chinese folklore into the story and I'm split between the two. I do agree with the "negative side" which states that the story really doesn't encapsulate a lot of Chinese culture other than the names and subtle mentions to the folklore. However, I also agree with the other side's argument that the whole point of folklore is to be able to reach everyone and the subtle hints are what bring the story together. With that said, I'm not taking a side, but I was slightly disappointed because I wanted more Chinese culture in the story.
The characters didn't strike me in any certain way which I was also a bit bummed out by. The whole point of having an Asian protagonist was so that I would be able to understand her better because we share similar cultures. Fei was a strong character, but she didn't reach me in any way and I felt detached from everything that was going on in her life. As for the other characters, I felt almost indifferent to their plight and that bothered me more than anything.
The world building has very little explanation and it adopts a "just accept it" format where the world is presented to the readers and we just have to accept everything the author says with little support. I'm going to chalk this up to the length of the novel. In BookCon, Richelle Mead mentioned how this was her first standalone novel and the challenges she had to face when trying to compress everything. I'll admit when I first got the book, I was surprised by just how tiny it was. The world and culture just have so much to give and I think 272 pages was just not enough time to really build everything to its full potential.
With that being said, the ending felt rushed and abrupt which makes sense since the novel is so short. I wish that this novel could have at least been a duology because everything would have been so much more developed. Hopefully there's some sort of continuation because the idea of the story itself is just fascinating.
3.5 out of 5 stars