ARC Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

November 5, 2015 Review 38 ★★½

ARC Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead
Soundless by Richelle Mead
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Source: Publisher
Pages: 272
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 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.


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.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.3

38 Responses to “ARC Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead”

    • Alise

      Aw :( Maybe give it a shot but with lower expectations? It’s still very readable, but I definitely enjoyed Mead’s other books more.

    • Alise

      No worries! It’s an okay read, but I would probably recommend Mead’s other series over this one if you want to get into her writing.

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I haven’t gotten around to reading VA yet, but the first book I read by Richelle Mead underwhelmed me as well. It was Gameboard of the Gods and while I liked some elements, it sort of put me off to checking out her other books. I was genuinely intrigued by the premise for Soundless, and I have read some promising reviews…but a lot of people felt the same as you have. That there was something missing. That the world and/or characters weren’t properly developed. I’m sorry that this one failed to deliver properly but thanks for sharing your thoughts here ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *119*

    • Alise

      Oh yeah, I’ve heard mixed things about Gameboard of the Gods. VA is probably my favorite series by Mead but it does take a few books before you really fall in love with it. Yeah :/ No worries, thanks!

  2. Denise

    This one sounds really interesting! I recently finished the VA series, and I liked it, but I’m not sure of my opinion of Mead yet. This one sounds like a really interesting concept, but I’m not sure if I will enjoy all of the paragraphs. I might try this, but I’m not sure how high my expectations are! Great review, Alise ♥

    ~Denise @ The Bibliolater

    • Alise

      Yay, I’m glad you liked VA :D It really did have an interesting concept but the execution is so-so. As someone who hates large paragraphs, this was tough for me. Thank you :)

  3. Anissa

    Ahhh, such a shame you didn’t enjoy this Alise! This book’s cover caught my attention on Goodreads the other day, but I never actually read the synopsis. I don’t really think this is my thing, and from what you’ve said I don’t think I’d like the pacing! xD
    Anissa recently posted…Finding a new BF: Blog Friend

  4. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Aw, that’s sad it’s a let down when you love this author so much. *weeps for you* I was REALLY excited that everyone was going to be deaf because…that just sounds SO UNIQUE. But heeeck yes, I’d miss the dialogue. 0_0 Probably still going to read this one, but maybe I should red VA first?!? I’ve yet to read anything by Richelle Mead. XD
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Dangerous Lies Blog Tour // With Bonus Nefarious and Dangerous BookPhotography

    • Alise

      Actually I would be curious as to if you would like this one more since you haven’t read anything by Mead! This one is unique though, for sure. VA is great, but it takes a few books to really fall in love with the series.

  5. Veronika

    Nooo, I don’t want to believe that Soundless is not as amazing as VA and Bloodlines *sobs*. I absolutely hate when a book seemingly has EVERYTHING – gorgeous cover, unique story etc. – and then ends up being a terrible disappointment, and this one sounds exactly like that. It makes me really sad that neither the characterization nor the romance was well-done, even though Mead proved that she can write both these perfectly. I’m still going to read it, just with lowered expectations.
    Amazing review. :)
    Veronika recently posted…Happy Halloween To Everyone (and the end of Spooky October.)

    • Alise

      I know :( I’ve read VA four times and still love it. It really is a shame, this book feels so different from what she usually writes. Hope you enjoy, thank you! :)

  6. Sarah J.

    This is disappointing. I’ve been seeing that this is lackluster. I’m going to go into with lower expectations and hopefully I end up loving it. I’m a huge VA and Bloodlines fan. I’ve also recently read Succubus Blues and if you ever have any free time and want to read a UF I highly recommend that one!
    Sarah J. recently posted…Books to Get You Through the Halloween Week!

    • Alise

      I really hope you do, let me know what you think! Ooh, good to know, I’ve always wanted to try her adult books, thanks!

  7. Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    oh yikes! Sadly I keep hearing how disappointing this one is. I’m sad to hear that the characterization, plot, and world-building are all subpar. Richelle usually shines through with her epic romances *cough* SYDRIAN *cough* and her great characters and charming wit. Hmmm…. I’m still excited for her new fantasy series coming in April though :)

    • Alise

      I knowww, her romances are always so good, I am sad about this. I actually had no idea about The Glittering Court until like yesterday, now I’m really excited for that as well!

    • Alise

      It was unique and different, but it made me realize how much I rely on dialogue in a book. If you are still interested, I say go for it! :)

  8. Lola

    I am so sorry this one didn’t live up to your expectations. Just like you I love both VA and Bloodlines, although I still have to read the last book. And this one sounds so good with such an original concept, although I can see how the not having dialogue could lead to pacing issues. And that’s so dispointing the world building isn’t as good, I would expect to world building to shine in a book like this and her previous books have had great world building. I guess it’s good to lower my expectations a bit before reading it. Great review!
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #151

    • Alise

      No worries! Yep, that’s exactly the problem I had with it, it’s really a shame. Let me know what you think if you read this one, one VA fan to another ;D Thank you!

  9. Romi

    Okay, so I have a review copy of this on my shelf and am fairly excited for it, although I definitely didn’t know much about the story when I decided I wanted to read it. All the characters being deaf is fairly incredible and I’m so interested to see how that works, although… I’m just hoping I don’t have the issues you did with it. And I hear it has ziplines! What could go wrong? So I’m definitely excited, although I’m a little hesitant, reading your review. I’ll be sure to keep in mind the issues you had and see how I go.
    Lovely review, Alise. xx
    Romi recently posted…Perceivable Intensities (5)

    • Alise

      The characters being deaf really makes this an interesting and unique read. For me, it slowed down the pacing because I like dialogue to break up large paragraphs but that is definitely a personal issue. Let me know what you think! Thank you :)

    • Alise

      No worries! I’ve loved everything else by Richelle Mead so I still enjoy her writing. Let me know if you review it, I’d love to know your thoughts! Thank you :)

  10. Lonna Y.

    I really enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. So, when I came across Soundless, I was excited for its Asian influences. Unfortunately, your review echoes so many that I’ve read. I will have to pass on this one. Such a shame. Great review. =)
    Lonna Y. recently posted…The Reluctant Duchess

  11. Lisa

    I had the same reaction, unfortunately. The concept was intriguing, but the story just turned up a bit short. Time to reread Vampire Academy, though, to refuel myself with other Richelle Mead-iness! :P
    Lisa recently posted…Update: November Wrap-Up

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