Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Asia, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, People & Places, Young Adult
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...
I try to read the Vampire Academy series at least once a year because it was one of my first (and favorite) YA series. I’ve also enjoyed the spin-off Bloodlines although I still have to read the last two books. Needless to say, I had high hopes for SOUNDLESS. Sadly, they were not entirely met.
This one has a much different feel than VA and Bloodlines had, and I think that was due to the author really branching out and trying new things. Everyone is deaf in this novel and there is technically no dialogue (spoken, at least). People communicate in sign language and I applaud the author for taking on such a challenging task. However, I do have to say that this did lead to some pacing issues, as this book was full of paragraphs that dialogue usually breaks up.
SOUNDLESS seemed to be lacking development in both world-building, characterization, and plot, because I wish we had gotten more explanation to why things the way they were. This style of writing also contributed to some confusion in general.
I thought the characters not being able to speak verbally would allow the reader to get to know them on a deeper level but that did not happen. Because of this, I had trouble caring about Fei and the others, especially when it came to the romance which seemed to randomly intensify from bitterness.
Overall, I think SOUNDLESS lacked the complexity of what I have come to expect from Richelle Mead and it didn’t deliver what I have come to expect from a fantasy book either, although the concept was intriguing and the reveal compelling.