Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Teen Fiction
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
Since I’d been stalking the author, the publisher, and all my blogging friends for the chance to snag an early copy of Soundless since the cover was first revealed in March, you can imagine how off-the-wall excited I was to be selected by Penguin’s First to Read program to receive a digital copy (thank you First to Read – you made my year!).
And, at the end of the day, all that clamoring was worth it – Soundless was a great read!
The setting, cultural immersion, and unique conflict (nobody in this mining town can hear, and now they’re all starting to lose their vision, too) were easily my favorite elements to the story. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like it, so major kudos to Mead for originality.
But all the great atmosphere in the world wouldn’t be worth as much if there weren’t also compelling characters to go along with it. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Fei’s eyes (and hearing it, for that matter – it was fascinating to be immersed in someone experiencing sound for the first time). I also loved her interactions with the other characters – specifically with her sister and the love interest. Fei always seemed a strong, capable girl, and that’s definitely what I like to see in my YA heroines. Could she have possibly used her sharp wit a little more often? Probably, but I think that over-criticism stems from how enamored I still am with the brilliance that is Sydney Sage (Bloodlines), so I guess maybe I should cut Fei some slack. :-)
I’ve read everything Richelle Mead has published, and one of the main reasons she’s one of my top authors is the experience she creates by building this amazing momentum across each respective series. The stories always climb steadily for a long while before finally hurtling towards the end like one giant snowball. It’s truly fantastic! And while I feel Soundless had a decent bit of that momentum, at the end of the day, there’s just no way for a stand-alone novel to compete with a six book series – there’s just simply not enough time! I believe this is the only reason I wasn’t quite as emotionally invested as I have been with her works in the past, but Soundless was still a great story – one I’m sure I’ll find myself recommending often.
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