For What It's Worth

Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead


SoundlessIn 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

Source: Borrrowed

Review:

Soundless is an interesting mix of fantasy, folklore and dystopian elements. The residents of Fei’s village are all deaf. That is something they have all come to accept. It just is. But now many of the villagers are also going blind and no one knows why.

This presents a problem because the villagers mine metals and send them to the mysterious - never before seen - line keeper in exchange for food. If the miners are going blind and can’t send metals the village will starve.

Add to the mystery – Fei, and only Fei, is regaining her hearing.

Fei’s sister, Zheng, is one of the people beginning to go blind. Currently, they serve the village as artists who document their daily life – kind of like a newspaper. If the Elders notice Zheng’s blindness she will be moved and become either a servant or even a beggar, living on the streets.

Fei teams up with a boy, Li Wei, who she once had a romantic interest in before they were separated by class lines – he is a miner – miners marry miners – artists marry artists etc. No one has ever met the line keeper and Li Wei has suspicions that they are being lied to or that he can negotiate for more food. It’s a  dangerous journey as the line keeper’s village is down a steep mountain that they can only access by climbing down with rope, which is difficult in the best of conditions but made worse by being deaf and unable to hear rocks falling.

I enjoyed Soundless, but it’s a very quiet kind of story. I adored Fei’s loyalty to her sister and would have loved if it was told from both of their pov’s. Fei is actually kind of happy with her life and choices. Her artistic talents are lauded by the elders and she has a prominent place in her village. It seems to me that Zheng, who is only a passable artist, has more to lose, and honestly, more to say but the focus shifts to Fei and Li Wei’s adventure down the mountain, instead of the sister relationship.

The romance is also very subtle, which was fine with me, but I didn’t really care either. With everyone going blind and starving – Li Wei being upset that Fei left him to be an artist and her still having feelings for him seemed like the least of the things they should be worried about.

Soundless was a lovely story with lovely writing yet it didn't pack an emotional punch. Instead of being breathless when the characters were in danger I was just following along.

So - I liked it - I'm happy I read it - and would recommend it but I wish the characters and relationships carried more weight.
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Blogger Shame


Soundless is part of my Blogger Shame review Challenge
hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup to clear out those older books that keep getting pushed aside because...Ooh! New! Shiny!

33 comments:

  1. I can do quiet, and i am so curious why the village is like that

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    1. I think you might like this one. There isn't a whole lot of angst.

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  2. I think quite a few readers found the same issues with this one too Karen. The premise and storyline sounds really unique and I love the culture and landscape that's explored, but sadly there's no emotional substance there to draw you in and make you invest. I'm hoping to eventually get around to the copy I have on my shelves, but don't have high expectations beyond what's just an entertaining read. Wonderful review, really enjoyed it <3

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    1. A few of my friends felt the same way. I really thought I was going to love it anyway so I'm bummed.

      I think if you just take it as a sweet, fully contained tale you might like it more. I was expecting WOW

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  3. You're over here putting me to shame. I wanted to like this one so bad but it bored me so I ended up DNFing. I think I just don't mesh with the authors storytelling.

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    1. I kept hoping something big would happen. Nope. lol

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  4. With its mix of fantasy, folklore and dystopian this sounds like a book I'd enjoy. I'm just disappointed that it lacks an emotional punch.

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    1. It's still a nice story just not as exciting as I was hoping.

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  5. Well, with a premise like THAT, who WOULDN'T want to read?? I love the cover and THAT FREAKING PREMISE THOUGH. Sorry..I'm just really excited about this book that I have YET to read yet! I'm glad you liked it even though you wished it had more in it with the characters and all. ;)

    Awesome review, lovely! <3

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    1. Thank you :-) I hope you like it more.

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  6. I've had my eye on this and have had mixed feelings. The cover sucks me in every time though, lol. I think what you said must be the reason it's a hit-or-miss read "I enjoyed Soundless, but it’s a very quiet kind of story." I do like the sound of SOUNDLESS, and may borrow this one at some time when i'm in the mood for a smoother, quieter read.

    Thanks, Karen : )

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    1. The cover is stunning. If you know it's quieter going in you might be ok.

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  7. Well, I think I might end up enjoying this one... especially now that I'm not expecting something really emotional (sometimes that is good...). I think I get a sense of this one and I might have to check out the audio version of it at the library.

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  8. Was this the one you were reading with Fozy in your IG?

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    1. No, that was a different one. At least Fonzi doesn't get mad when I read like Figment does. lol

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  9. Is the sense loss and regaining ever explained - or are there theories at least? Because, next to the characters not being particularly engaging, it sounds to me like that might be the biggest issues with this book. To me at least...

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    1. Yes, it's a fully contained story with full explanations. It's a nice story - I wish it would have had more feels.

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    2. I should have known...you would have mentioned the lack of explanations in your review if there were any, wouldn't you? ;)

      I need engaging characters myself, though...

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  10. Also love the sisterly devotion in this one

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    1. I kind of wish there was more of that instead of the added romance.

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  11. I was curious about this one because well it's Mead right? But I confess that the reviews were quite mixed so I haven't tried it yet... I don't know.

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    1. I think it was a nice story - just not as epic as I was expecting.

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  12. Thanks for sharing. I keep reading very mixed things about this one. It's an intriguing premise though!

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    1. I think it's worth reading. I guess just don't expect to be wowed.

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  13. I agree with what you said. It is a very quiet book and the romance was very, VERY subtle, but it was such an interesting premise.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  14. Well said! I agree with you on all that. It was a quiet read and the romance wasn't a main focus, but it was all tied together nicely.

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  15. You're so rocking the blogger shame pile! Yay! I have this on my tbr pile (not for review just cus I love her books lol) Such a pretty cover and what a unique storyline. Glad to see you enjoyed it even though it was so quiet/subtle.

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    1. I am!!!! lol I do horrible at challenges so I'm really happy with my progress so far.

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  16. Wonderful review! I am an enormous Richelle Mead fangirl, but I have seen some not-so-glowing reviews, so I am scared to read it. I am glad to see you liked this one well enough. Thanks for the review, and thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. Your blog seems really awesome, so you got yourself a new follower!

    - Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

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    1. I've only read the first VA so I wasn't comparing it to anything which was helpful I think.

      It's a quiet but sweet story though so if you know that going in you might enjoy it more.

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  17. I'm so glad you liked this one! It's been getting mixed reviews and so I've been pushing it back, but perhaps I'll have to read it now that I've seen that you liked it. :D

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    1. It didn't blow me away but I enjoyed it.

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