Soundless by Richelle Mead. No Spoilers.
I actually finished this book the day I posted the book review for The Wrath and The Dawn, but I thought having two book reviews in a row would be a bit much, especially since the last one before that was in April. I got these two books for Christmas and I didn’t want to bring them on the plane back to uni, so I finished them right away.
Soundless can often be found alongside The Wrath and The Dawn on booklists. They both take place in slightly fantastical versions of our world, in another place and another time. They both have well-developed and flawed-yet-likeable female protagonists of colour. They are both categorized as Young Adult and have romance and adventure. Soundless, however, has a little more adventure and a little less romance than The Wrath and The Dawn.
Fei is deaf. No big deal in her mountaintop village: everyone there is deaf. They talk with sign language and keep records with writing and images. I think the uniqueness of this is partly why Soundless has had so much attention so far.
People are starting to go blind in their little village, which is disastrous. Food is scarce and the situation is dire. This prompts Fei to join Li Wei, love interest, in descending the mountain—a dangerous feat with no guarantees.
Apart from having a society without sound, this book is nothing special. It may have been aimed at an audience younger than I am; a lot of the narration was simple and everything was spelled out for the reader. In some ways, that was good because with so much being different from what readers know, explaining is necessary for a clear picture. However, I felt like it went beyond that and a lot of explanations were unnecessary.
Fei makes for a great protagonist. She is talented and smart, sure, but what really made me love her is her bravery and determination. Li Wei is awesome, too, and won me over quickly. The secondary characters were good for the most part. In a few of the cases, I thought they were too flat or they were great but it didn’t matter because they barely even spoke—but those cases were in the minority.
The conflict was good for the most part, but I expected the story to be a lot bigger, more epic, for what it was marketed as. The middle sagged a little bit, and I did not see the end coming. Not that it was an impossible ending or anything, but it was kind of like getting a royal flush in poker: you know it’s possible but it’s so unlikely that you just don’t consider it. From how it went, I wouldn’t be surprised it there were a sequel, or if it became a trilogy or more. But if that’s not your thing, then no worries. This book can stand on it’s own.
Have you read it? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments below!