Soundless by Richelle Mead | Review

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Published: November 10, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Library

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 reading the book I had heard a few things about this book which were mostly mixed. Some people either really enjoyed it, and then some not so much. I hadn't read any of her other books, so in terms of writing I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know much about it either until I saw Reagan (PeruseProject on YouTube) talking about it in one of her videos which then completely convinced me to check it out.

Soundless is a 266 page standalone young adult fantasy novel. Initially it didn't really click with me that this might be a little odd. Fantasy novels typically require some world building, and in some series the first novel is usually just that. The story doesn't really get going until the second book. 

The story started out fine. We get to know Fei and her role within her community as well as a little bit about why things are the way they are in her village. But that's pretty much all we get in terms of a backstory. There isn't much about why Fei is the way she is, I mean it's sort of explained, but that goes with the whole "show don't tell" thing that they beat into you in creative writing. Because it's just said why, there isn't a connection between the reader and Fei. That means we're off to a rough start. I don't really care why she's going to go through all of what makes up the rest of the book.

There isn't much of a journey. It was more of a short trip. There was more that could have been pulled out of this story, but ultimately it just gave us the very surface of an idea. Also, I fail to see why the male counterpart is needed, and it takes away from Fei's character rather than help her grow.

I liked the original concept and how it would tie into Chinese folklore with fantastical elements. I always enjoy a kick-ass female lead willing to put up a fight for others. I enjoyed the writing which aided in the pacing of the story. I would pick up on of Richelle Mead's other books based on that, but I'm not really interested in reading those particular kinds stories right now.

The main reason I kept reading was because I wanted to know why all of this was happening, which in the end was a bit too predictable for me. I waited and waited to see how the Chinese folklore would play into it all along with the fantasy elements until finally at the end there's a little something of it, but then that's the end of the book. It's a little too late.

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