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8.08.2015

Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.
Release Date: November 10th, 2015
Young Adult, Fantasy
Ebook/Print/Audio (272 pages, RAZORBILL)
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 Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever....
Author Site: website

Quite different but worth a read. (4 stars)

As one of the most anticipated books of the fall I think a lot of readers are going to go into this expecting too much and therefore get let down. This is a stand alone book and if you're already a Mead fan you may find the tone a little lackluster compared to the snark and humor of her other work. Bearing that in mind it's still a very enjoyable story, it's just very differently written from other Mead books.

One of the challenging elements is obviously that there is no spoken dialog in this book. It all comes in the form that's usually reserved for thoughts. It's a little odd to adjust to but I found it a very interesting way of telling a story. I loved the novelty of it but also felt it left all of the dialog flat and devoid of easily described inflection. No one is exclaiming or sobbing their communication really and yet that allows you as a reader to fill in the blanks with your own imagery. You may or may not like that, I'v never experienced it in reading before so I found it tolerable but not lovable.

The actual story itself is steeped in Chinese folklore and as a fan of mythology and fantasy I liked that it wasn't your usual European influenced tale. Because the blurb and cover don't really give you a lot to go on I feel it is worth noting that this is indeed a fantasy story. I don't want to spoil anything but I expected a twist akin to a film I might be the only lover of when Fei gets to the bottom of the mountain. I think if I had been more clear that this was a fantasy I wouldn't have been disappointed it wasn't that.

Lastly, the romance is good if a little bit of a side note. Don't go in expecting it to be particularly important to the plot because Mead could easily have left it out and the story would have worked. Overall, it was a pleasurable read. Though I didn't find it wowing it was certainly worth recommending to anyone looking for something different in the YA shelves. A perfect palette cleanser read between meatier fare.

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