“Our village came to terms with silence when our ancestors lost their hearing generations ago for unknown reasons, but being plunged into darkness? That’s a fate that scares us all.”
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication: November 10th 2015 by Razorbill
Source: Publisher at ALA Annual
Summary from Goodreads:
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…
Richelle Mead is queen. I’ve said it before and I will say it over and over again. Vampire Academy, Bloodlines, Succubus Blues, Dark Swan, Gameboard of the Gods… each and every story she has created is full of life, laughter, and heartbreak. Soundless was no exception. Sure there were things that could have been better and things that I did not like, but the overall power of Mead’s writing was still there – and it was breathtaking.
Soundless is about a village that rests up on top of a mountain. Fei, and all the other villagers, know only what the people before them knew. They are at the mercy of the line keeper, the man who sends them rations of food in exchange for precious metals. People in the village are beginning to lose their sight, even Fei’s sister, and with each passing day more and more people are falling ill. Their output to the line keeper slowly dwindles, and he responds in kind. One day, the line keeper withholds the supply as punishment – and soon cuts them off all together. Fei, a miraculous girl who regains her hearing, must work together with her childhood friend Lei Wei to save their village before they plunge into darkness and starvation.
Richelle Mead has this amazing power over me. I don’t know what it is – but each and every book strikes me to the core. Ever since Shadow Kiss, the third Vampire Academy novel, I’ve been obsessed with her style. Her characters are always so original and multidimensional – they are never the same. Rose Hathaway, Sydney Sage, Mae Koskinen, and now Fei. All of them have their own quirks, ticks, and overall demeanor. Fei is calm, levelheaded, and an artist. But, she also isn’t afraid to be adventurous – say, like scaling down the mountain to bring food back to her family. Fei is tough and willing to stand up for what she believes in, but she is also vulnerable, terrified, and unsure of how her actions will affect the village as a whole. She had a compelling voice, especially when she begins to regain her hearing.
Describing sound when a character has no idea what sound is, is no easy task. Mead handles it with grace and poise, as she does with everything else she tackles. The realization of sound, the process of trying to name the different noises – it was both intriguing and mind blowing. I’d never read a book like that before, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
The story itself, once again as it is with all of Mead’s novels, was fantastic. The narrative mode was captivating, the mythology was fresh and innovative, the relationships between the characters was believable, and most of all – the romance was swoon worthy. I have to admit, the fact that the romantic interest was already introduced and they already had a past was very well done. I haven’t read many Young Adult books that go about the romance that way – but it was very well done. Lei Wei… I love him, yup, I said it. He was amazing, kind, gentle, and he wasn’t afraid to fight in order to get what needed to be done, done. He was tender with Fei, but he also pushed her to be and do better.
There were some minor issues, but it mostly has to do with the ending. It felt too perfect and too rushed. I’m so used to these long, drawn out and complicated webs of plot that Mead crafts over the course of a series – so the resolution in this standalone was a little too polished for my liking. Like, no one died guys. What sorcery is this? But, anyway, I don’t think my issues would have been issues if the book was just a little longer. I think the ending needed some more space to sort itself out.
Overall, Soundless was the wild ride I was expecting and so much more. The story is beautiful, the setting is exquisite, and the characters will tug at all of your little heartstrings while they fight for what is best for their entire village. This was unlike anything else I’ve read by Mead, though at the same time, it still carried all of the little touches I have come to expect from her. Soundless did not disappoint. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a little bit of fun and new mythology in your life.