Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Noise of a New Beginning • Soundless

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source/Format: BEA 2015 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

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.



At its heart, Soundless is good. It's the story of a girl who displays extraordinary talent in the face of the great evil that looms over her people, which is a common trope in fantasy books. I went into it with great optimism, because I love a good heroine and because of the promise of Chinese folklore integrated into the tale. Mead does deliver on both counts, albeit with an imbalance that leans towards the strong heroine and less toward the integration of culture and lore.

Fei is the type of heroine I like to read about. She's not physically strong, nor does she have years of experience under her belt. But she's got a good heart, incredible artistic talent and love for her sister. It's her determination to save her sister, to save her beloved village, that propels her forward into an adventure she could never have imagined: a journey down the mountain to save her people. 

Readers will find some satisfaction in encountering familiar plot points. Her journey is typical of a fantasy heroine, with unexpected discoveries, new acquaintances and well-timed revelations. It makes the story, on the whole, quite cohesive and easy to read. However, it also lends to its overall predictability, particularly when it comes to the resolution. And there are little details, mostly in description of artwork, food, clothing and lore that integrate the Chinese culture into this tale. However, these details lack development, and really don't add anything to the story to set it apart. So while Soundless had the potential to be an amazing read, it simply fell short of the mark for me. 

5 comments:

  1. I tried reading this right after BEA but I didn't get too far into it before putting it down with the intention of resuming later because I wasn't too into the story but it has so much going for it in theory. I haven't read any positive reviews yet which makes me sad :-(

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  2. Lovely review, Alexa, and I completely agree! I thought this was a lovely, engaging story, but ultimately forgettable. Nothing about it sticks out in my mind, which is a shame because it's Richelle Mead doing Chinese folklore! I'm hoping her newest series will be more impressive.

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  3. Great review. I enjoyed this one while reading it (I think largely because I'm not familiar with Mead's other books and didn't bring that baggage into it) but the more I think about it the more I wish that this book had more in terms of world building and to strengthen the elements of diversity and disability representation in the story.

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  4. I don't read a lot of fantasy, so I might read this as a springboard into the genre. It's a shame that it's not that great, so I'll probably end up borrowing it from the library.

    Thanks for sharing, Alexa! Great review. :)

    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover

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  5. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't love this book Alexa :\ But I'm glad you still liked it :) I'm so excited for it. Reading it very soon, I think :D Hope I will love it. But a bit nervous too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it sweet girl. <3

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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