From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.
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 Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…
I love both Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, so when I found out about this I was super excited and I had really high expectation. I wasn’t dissappointed at all. But I have to say, Soundless is nothing like what I expected.
“Did it improve your life?” Li Wei asks again. “In most ways,” I say at last, hating the pain I see flash through his eyes. “But what could we do? You know I had to take the opportunity. And with it came sacrifices. That’s life, Li Wei. That’s the way it’s always been.” “Maybe it’s time things change,” he shoots back.
Fei lives in this village on top of a mountain, where generations before people lost their hearing. They used to farm in the valleys, but an avalanche blocked the pass, so they’re basically trapped on the mountain, dependent on the line keeper who sends supplies (just enough to keep them living) through a zip cord in exchange for metal mined on the mountain. So, Fei’s people are either miners, or artists, who have the job to record the village history through text and illustration. Fei is an artist, and as such she can’t be with the boy, Li Wei, who saved her life when they were young, because he’s a miner. She accepted to become an artist mainly for her sister, to improve her life condition, since she’s losing her sight; a plague that’s affecting more and more people in the village. Once someone becomes blind they can’t be artists or miners anymore, they become beggars, who can only wait for someone kind enough to give up on part of their ration to feed them.
And as Li Wei cries out, I know Feng Jie is right. It is his heart I am hearing.
A lot changes when one night Fei gets her hearing back. She doesn’t know how or why, but she’s suddendly overwhelmed with sounds. And as people keep dying due to the loss of their sight, others, especially Li Wei, get more angry, and demanding of answers. That’s how Li Wei and Fei leave for a journey that will help them find out the truth about their people and the world outside.
“You shouldn’t marry because of someone else’s wishes, because it’s a match. You should marry someone who loves you. Someone who loves you passionately and would change the world for you.” “The world would have to change indeed for that to happen,” I point out. “Do you see it changing anytime soon?” He gestures around us. “It already has, Fei.”
I was kind of shocked to see a lot of bad reviews on this one. I think the main reason is that it’s nothing like Richelle Mead’s previous books, and everyone was expecting something on that line. I mean, even the writing style is completely different, although I think it’s really improved. This is a short book, and so you’re kind of thrown into the story at the beginning, with characters who already know each other, already have feelings for each other, so you just see them from there on. There isn’t a slow world builing, but I think the descriptions were very vivid and beautiful.
I can see how these sounds don’t interfere with the world so much as enhance it. The scope and potential are huge. It’s like having a new color to paint with.
I was a bit insecure at first, but once I got more into it I really loved it. I didn’t get really attached to the characters, because again, it’s less than 300 pages long. But I did love a lot of things about them. I especially loved Fei, how she wasn’t the brave girl who rebelled to the system, she just happened to be the one with the right tools (hearing) to try and save her people, and so her sister, from certain death. She was always selfless, but her bravery derived from her need to protect those she loved.
How is it possible to have gone from such joy to such sorrow in the blink of an eye? For a moment, I felt like I had the world. Now I feel as though I’m losing it.
In the end I think this was a really beautiful and unique story. If only it had been a bit longer, with a slower world and characters building, it could have been even better.