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.
Before I officially begin this review of Soundless, I would like to point out that I really, really wanted to like this book. Richelle Mead has been one of my favourite authors for a very long time — I absolutely loved the Vampire Academy series, and I strongly believe that Rose Hathaway is my spirit animal — but I was really disappointed with this one. (Though, I think what disappointed me perhaps the most was that I am attempting to read more standalone novels, and the first one I read sadly did not meet my expectations.)
Despite a gorgeous cover and an interesting blurb, the book doesn’t deliver an exceptional story. This is, perhaps, a classic example of why purchasing a book based solely on how gorgeous the cover is and who has written it is not always the best idea. Looking back now, I wish that I had done some more research on Soundless, because the numerous reviews that I have read since completing it have been quite negative. The overall plot was interesting (and not something that I have ever read before), but it wasn’t interesting enough that it made me forget about some of the problems that the book possesses.
For example, the story is incredibly slow. This book is only 266 pages (not very long to properly develop a story in my opinion — though, I am used to reading a series with multiple books that allow characters and stories to develop over time). Richelle Mead spends the majority of the time world-building, in addition to extensively describing the setting and the appearance of the characters rather than moving the story forward. Despite such an intriguing blurb, it takes a very long time for the story to move in a positive direction. In fact, the most fascinating part of the book happens during the last thirty or so pages. And then it just stops. Most disappointingly, we don’t get to find out whether or not there are implications of Fei’s discovery.
Additionally, Richelle Mead tends to focus on [what I personally deem] insignificant aspects of the story, such as Fei mending the broken bowl. Whilst these scenes are interesting, it doesn’t really help with the story’s overall plot. When it came to scenes like this, I found myself skimming them as I wanted to get back to the overall storyline.
This is not the writing style of Richelle Mead that I remember. When the Vampire Academy series first came out (all those years ago… because I’m so old, haha), I remember enjoying Richelle Mead’s writing style. Rose’s internal dialogue was fun, sassy and sarcastic. It was possible to understand the character, grasp her emotions, desires and motivations. However, Soundless was very flat in comparison. Any emotion that Fei felt actually came across a little forced. For example, when Fei would say that she was scared it never came through the rest of the writing. There was definitely a lot more telling rather than showing.
Whilst I did grow to like Fei, most of the characters were very two-dimensional. 266 pages was not enough to fully develop the secondary characters of this novel. At times, they felt like simple cardboard cutouts, only there to help the main character. This meant that I never really grew to like them or understand their motivations. And, by now, you should know how much I love growing attached to characters. So, this was very upsetting to me.
I always attempt to balance my reviews with both positive and negative points — only because I want to provide an informative review for my readers. But I am really struggling to find anything that I truly liked about this book. Perhaps, if you are an avid reader of standalone novels this may highly appeal to you. Also, if you are looking for a concept that is a little different, then maybe give this one a try. This just wasn’t my kind of book, but I would hate to persuade you to not at least attempt it to see if your opinion differs.
[I just want to apologise for my absence once again. Thank-you so much for sticking around and checking out this post. I hope to have some new content, as well as some interesting changes, on the blog soon. So, please put up with me as I change the layout, fix the graphics and rewrite my about me page. Have a lovely day/night!]