5 Things about Soundless by Richelle Mead

January 3, 2016 Review 44 ★★★

5 Things about Soundless by Richelle Mead
Soundless by Richelle Mead
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Source: Publisher
Pages: 267
Release Date: November 12th, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Young Adult
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village. Her people are at the mercy of a mysterious faraway kingdom, which delivers food in return for precious metals mined from the treacherous cliffs surrounding them.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, their rations shrink and many go hungry. Fei's home, the boy she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

Then Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon . . .

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


It’s a short standalone

SOUNDLESS is only 250 pages or so, which makes for a very quick read with a simple, straightforward plot. The short duration means that not a lot is developed or explored beyond what is important to the central plot (which isn’t necessarily a bad things). The story also wraps up really well for a fantasy standalone! (Not at all like those “standalones” with surprise second books a few weeks after release).


Nice introduction to high fantasy

Short duration and not having everything developed means that SOUNDLESS isn’t as intense as a lot of high fantasy can be. This wasn’t so great for a hardcore high fantasy fan like myself (I like my worlds, characters, plots and subplots super rich and detailed with multiple layers) but may be great for someone that struggles with the number of elements in your typical high fantasy. It’s also be a nice gateway book because of this.



The concept is interesting

The deaf village was the main reason I wanted to read this book (along with the promise of Chinese folklore). How was Richelle Mead going to explain things without sound? How does a character who has never heard anything before describe new sounds? I was actually surprised by the results. It was weird knowing the word for an adjective that Fae had no idea about.


I was scared I wasn’t going to like it at first

I struggled with the first few chapters of SOUNDLESS, I’m not going to lie. The main reason was the writing. It just wasn’t meshing with me during the first few chapters. There was a lot of telling going on (and I was getting frustrated because SHOW ME THINGS) and I’m not sure if it was grating on me because I was adjusting to the writing style or what. It is written in the same style as Vampire Academy & Bloodlines, which works really well for for paranormal romance but maybe not so much for high fantasy? In any case around the time Fei discovered sound was when I got more absorbed into the story and actually started to enjoy it.


There could have been more Chinese folklore elements

For a book that says it’s inspired by Chinese folklore on the summary there really wasn’t that much. I mean, the names, a few of the building designs, etc, etc do give the impression of an Asian culture, but really they could have just been any random fantasy world too. There is one super obvious folklore thing, but that doesn’t appear until the VERY END and is mentioned only a few times throughout. I would have loved to have seen more Ancient Chinese customs, fears, mythology, and creatures make appearances.



I was really excited for SOUNDLESS and unfortunately it didn’t meet my expectations of a brilliant high fantasy heavily inspired Chinese folkore. It was a nice short read that may be great for introducing new readers to the high fantasy genre, but it wasn’t as developed as some of the more hardcore/epic stuff I prefer to read.

Rating Report
Overall: 3

44 Responses to “5 Things about Soundless by Richelle Mead”

    • Bec

      The mediocre reviews did make me lower my expectations so I knew what I was getting into. Still sad about the lack of mythology though :(

    • Bec

      I had thought it would be the same :/ Her writing style is very similar to Bloodlines and VA (which is why I had some issues because that is not writing well suited to fantasy honestly). The village was interesting and I wish we had more time to explore it.

  1. Denise

    When I first heard about this book, I was super excited to read it, but now I’m not too sure. I’ve heard a few people saying similar things to you – it kind of puts me off a bit, because like you, I do like my fantasy to be complex and have many layers. I’m also not a huge fan of Mead’s writing style, so I’m not really sure if I will enjoy this one.

    I’m sorry this didn’t meet your expectations, Bec! I hope you’ll be able to pick up a high fantasy soon that is everything you hope for <3
    Denise | The Bibliolater
    Denise recently posted…My 2016 Bookish Resolutions

    • Bec

      Yeah her writing style hasn’t changed so… if you do decide to read it eventually I suggest lowering your expectations.

      Haha 90% of my TBR is high fantasy so it won’t be long at all XD

  2. Veronika

    I’m honestly not sure what to do about this novel… I absolutely adore Richelle Mead’s VA and Bloodlines series but all the horrible things I’ve read about Soundless make me hesitant. Anyhow, your review gives me hope! And also, it’s less than 300 pages, so it’s not like I’d be losing that much time.
    Wonderful review, and I really, really like the new review form you use!
    Veronika recently posted…2015 End of Year Book Survey – Part 2

    • Bec

      Soundless really isn’t impressing a lot of people. If you love her other YA though you might still enjoy this!

      Thanks! This list style makes it easier to write reviews quickly and somewhat succinctly.

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I already know I’ll have the same issues you mentioned here with regards to the world-building/fantasy-elements and all that stuff. I like my fantasy layered and detailed too! I was also wishing for lots of Chinese-Folklore elements so the lack thereof is a bummer. That being said, I have an arc of this one and I will read it – if only because it’s a quick read, a standalone AND the fact that I’m curious about the soundless-ness LOL! Awesome review here Bec^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Fandom Mashup #34

    • Bec

      More Chinese folklore is all it would have taken to increase my rating to 4 stars. I’m kind of irritated all we got was a couple of mentions and then stuff in the last 30 pages.

      I hope you enjoy it more than I did. At least you’ll be prepared for what it’s really like.

  4. Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes

    I don’t think I’ve seen a single glowing review for Soundless yet, and I’m sad about that — I really hoped it would be an awesome fantasy. I also always seek out books based on/inspired by Asian mythology, and the fact that the Chinese folklore here isn’t very prominent is disappointing. Still, I plan on reading Soundless very soon — it’s the next library book I plan to take up. I expect it to be a quick read, but I’m already going into it expecting it to be decent at best. Sigh.
    Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes recently posted…The Sunday Post — January 3rd, 2016 [#43] | Monthly Wrap-Up Edition: December 2015 [#16]

    • Bec

      I’ve seen one or two on Goodreads but none among the bloggers I regularly read :(

      It is a decent read. Just not as good as it could have been. I hope you like it more than I did :)

  5. BooksWithClaire

    Thank you so much for this review! Altough you didn’t like it I kinda am still intruiged by the story, this because it has unique story elements. I’ve never heard of the idea of a deaf village.
    I’m going to buy it soon and will see if it is what people say.
    Your review was just splendid!

    X claire

    • Bec

      No worries! It is a very interesting concept for a novel, and I’m still glad I read it to see how it was done.

      I hope you enjoy it when you read it :_

    • Bec

      It certainly hasn’t been received that well, which is disappointing because it had such potential to be truly amazing :/

      I can’t really say whether you should still give it a go or not. I’m kind of in the middle in terms of my thoughts (neither really loving or hating) so there’s a chance you could enjoy it, but I suppose you know what books you like more than I do :)

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    Sorry this one wasn’t quite what you like in the genre. I don’t read a lot of fantasy in general, so it might be a good place for me to start. I think it will be a slow start for me too though because I like dialogue and whatnot and not SO MUCH DESCRIPTION. hah We’ll see…I have this one from Owl Crate.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Happy New Year Giveaway!

    • Bec

      You’ll like this then I suspect. The description isn’t overly heavy, though there’s also not necessarily too much dialogue with the characters being deaf haha but they do have their way of communication.

      I hope you enjoy it :)

  7. Alise

    I was pretty disappointed in this one, especially since it was Richelle Mead. While the book itself wasn’t too bad, there were a lot of elements that could have been done better and when combined the book just fell really short. It did wrap up nicely though, especially considering the fantastical elements didn’t make an appearance until the very few last pages.

    • Bec

      I have been finding that I haven’t been enjoying Richelle Mead’s latest novels as much as her old ones :(

      Oh man, if the fantastical things appeared through even half the novel though I would have maybe given it 4 stars. And maybe if they included more than just one creature.

  8. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I was uber disappointed with it. *wails wildly* Mostly because, ya know…Fei nearly got cured in the first few chapters and that disappointed me because I thought the book was going to be about a deaf protagonist. Why couldn’t she be deaf and still do all the awesome things?! I hate the special snowflake and “must fix the ‘disability'” sort of plot devices. *heavy sigh* BUT YEAH. I did like how it was short and a nice easy read! I haven’t read VA yet, but I kind of want to?! MAYBE?!?! XD
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Weekly Fury #63 // Wherein I’m A Book Shimmy Awards Finalist (!!!) Plus the Awaken of Wattpad

    • Bec

      I had a feeling she would recover her hearing pretty early on because it says so in the description and the book really isn’t that long. Still she probably could have at least started her quest deaf (and as she got further from the Spoilery Thing making people deaf and blind she could start to recover it slowly, but not necessarily completely)

      Vampire Academy is a much better story in my opinion. Her writing is better suited to it and the world is much more developed.

    • Bec

      I’ve read one or two but there are so many elements Chinese folklore I’m always eager to explore more.

      I hope you enjoy it more than I did :)

    • Bec

      It had such potential didn’t it :/ I really expected more from her but alas. Maybe she isn’t suited to writing such short standalones or fantasy. This has also had me worried about her fantasy trilogy coming out this year.

  9. Lola

    I haven’t read Soundless yet, but I do owna copy. I kinda like books with shorter lenght, but sometimes it’s means things aren’t as well developed and that’s a shame. It does sound like a nice introduction to high fantasy for those new to the genre. I used to read a lot of high fantasy a few years ago, but nowadays hardly read the genre anymore. I am glad it’s written in the same style as VA and Bloodlines as I enjoyed those, but I can see how the same style might not work as well in a different genre. It’s a shame there isn’t as much chinese folkore, I expected that too from the cover and blurb. I am glad I read this post so I can adjust my expectations before I start reading the book.
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your Book

    • Bec

      The shorter page count is detrimental in this fantasy. It takes a masterful writer to create a good fantasy world and story in such a short time.

      I hope you enjoy the book when you read it :)

  10. AllyR.

    I’ve heard conflicting views about this book, but it sounds super interesting. I think I’ll give it a try. I haven’t read anything else by the author, but I love folk tales and fantasy, and the premise sounds interesting!
    AllyR. recently posted…2015 End of the Year Book Survey

    • Bec

      Good luck when you read it! I hope you like it more than I did. It does have a super interesting concept.

  11. Kat Snark

    I just finished it, and I agree 100%. I knew it was inspired by chinease folklore, but didn’t get the actual “folklore” until the end, nor did I get the impression of high fantasy–like I said, until the end. But it was still a very enjoyable read, just not as good as it could have been, nor did it have as much fantastical and folklore-y elements as I would have liked. Great review, Bec :)
    Kat Snark recently posted…Review: Lover Eternal by JR Ward

    • Bec

      I guess inspired was the key word in the description. If it had more it would have been so much better.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      I also think you’ve probably made a good decision. If you do ever want to try it you can always borrow it from a library and use your money to buy a better fantasy.

    • Bec

      There are many more sounding exciting books coming up in the next few months haha. I really wish I wasn’t on a buying ban so I could get my hands on them all!

  12. Kelly

    This actually sounds perfect for me Bec, not being a real fantasy buff, especially high fantasy. I’ve seen a few reviews for it and it seems what’s lacking would probably be totally my thing. I feel the same way about world building within dystopians and not knowing much about the culture, it’s probably just enough for non fantasy readers to be interested, but hardcore fantasy readers like yourself might find it a bit lacking too. Excited to give this one a try. Wonderful review Bec <3
    Kelly recently posted…Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

  13. Tiffany

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and I am really intrigued by the whole concept of it. But I’m quite surprised that you gave it a 3. I still want to read it so I can see what you mean. I also really love reading your blog because all your posts are really interesting and your content is so creative. I also LOVE that you’re an aussie blogger and I’m happy that you’re really successful. You’re one of my favourite blogs and it would mean so much if you checked out my blog since I’m just starting out and possibly give me a follow on bloglovin’.

  14. Shonk

    I have to say I actually hated this book. I rant about it every time I get (including now) because honestly, the portrayal of deaf people and the entire lack of any real deaf culture is absolutely disgusting, and if Read knew anything about deaf people she’s have realised many of her plot points are just entirely flawed. I didn’t have high hopes for this book, but it certainly was so much more ignorant than I ever expected.

    • Bec

      I can’t properly judge the accuracy of portrayal of deaf people because I don’t know any personally, but still the focus wasn’t even really on the deafness as Fei recovered her hearing so quickly :(

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