I. Love. Richelle. Mead. Let’s just get that out of the way first. Every single book of hers that I read is up there with my favorites, especially in the teen genre. I feel like she has such a knack for writing characters who are relate-able, even when they are in the fantasy worlds that none of her readers would ever actually live in. Does that make sense? I don’t know. Whatever! She’s my favorite!
Soundless is a standalone novel that follows Fei, a teenager who lives in a village at the top of a mountain in ancient china. Fei has always lived in a world with no sound. Her ancestors went deaf many years ago and the trait was passed down after that. Her village is isolated on the top of a mountain and their only communication with the outside world is through a single zip-line from the bottom of the mountain. The zip-line is not only used for communication though. This line is the village’s only food source as well because the plateau has no access to fertile land in order to grow their own food. The “line keeper” requires the villagers to send down precious metals from their mine atop the mountain in exchange for food and supplies. Unfortunately, many of the villagers are also starting to lose their sight, which is making mining increasingly difficult. The line keeper begins to send less food when the village cannot deliver the demanded amount of metal, and now Fei decides that she needs to do something about the way her village has been living.
If you have not read Soundless by Richelle Mead yet, go and do it! Seriously! Then, come back and let me know what you thought.
Fei and her younger sister, Zhang Jing, have worked their way up the system, and therefore live a life of considerable luxury compared to those in the mines. The sisters have become artists and apprentices of the elders. They have substantial shelter and food living in the Peacock Court and overall have very little to complain about when it comes to standard of living. As artists in a world with no sound, their daily job is to record what is happening in the village so they can relay it to their fellow villagers (Seems like a boring job right?). Fei’s observation post is just outside the mines and Zhang Jing’s post is inside the mines. Everyone in this small village has become content with doing their part to keep the village going as it always has, but one person is not.
Li Wei is a miner who is less than happy with the way things are. His father was going blind and died a clumsy death in the mines and it was right then that Li Wei snapped. He wants more for his village but they don’t seem to want more for themselves and Fei is perhaps the only person who can be swayed to think the same as him. This would be because one night, Fei has a prophetic dream that magically restores her hearing and so she decides to make he treacherous journey down the mountain because she can hear avalanches and protect them with her hearing. Fei is a strong girl, which is something I definitely love in Mead’s books. There’s never a girl in a book by Richelle Mead who cannot stand on her own two feet and be independent. But I also love the way Richelle writes romance. Li Wei and Fei have a past romance that they chose/ were forced to ignore because their rank in their village society prohibited them being together. This didn’t change their feelings for each other though, and Li Wei is determined to see it through once he realizes that life may be forever changing for the both of them. Love and romance is always so perfect in Richelle’s novels, and I definitely blame her for some of my high standards in guys in real life.
The only thing that I will admit was kind of iffy in this story were the characters themselves. Li Wei was very selfless, he always did what he thought was best for his father, Fei, the village as a whole, even if it meant putting himself in danger. Overall he has a developed sense of character, while Fei I felt was not so strong (in the writing sense). At points, Fei being inhuman. No one would ever be able to pull themselves half way up a zip-line, and then run around the village, paint an extensive record, and then fight well trained soldiers after already being physically exhausted and sleep deprived for two days. It started to seem like she was indestructible, like she was a superhero or something. So I feel like her flaw was that she was literally too perfect. I enjoyed the book nonetheless though, so overall it was a successful read right?
I know I have left a bunch of stuff out of this review, I’m not going too much into detail because I don’t want to summarize as much as I have been! I’d love to hear your thoughts on Soundless so let me know 🙂
Until next time… Katie xoxo