Chinese folklore awakens in a this romantic tale…
Genre: Y/A, Fantasy
No. of pages: 272
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.
Not the type of book I would normally choose, but as I’ve enjoyed other novels by Richelle Mead, this title became an exception. ‘Soundless’ was a quick, quaint and entertaining quest.
While nothing extraordinary, ‘Soundless’ tells a gritty story of a delicate artist with growing determination to save her village against greed and tyranny. The folklore here is beautiful, although slowly emerging throughout the story line – and you get a sense that it is only the beginning. There is no big info dump – we learn the facts as our protagonist, Fei, does. Drawing from Chinese and Taiwanese culture, the mythology for this novel provides the backdrop for our heroine’s journey.
I really got sucked into her adventure, traversing the mountain and having to find a way to communicate to all she meets without speech. It was a little disconcerting to read a book with no dialogue, but all communication is in sign language or through written words and picture… that element alone added a uniqueness to the story I was entranced by. It challenges Mead as a writer not to rely on dialogue so much to tell the story, and I feel like she has accomplished this with resounding success.
There is a distinct air of tradition and honour, deep seated into Fei’s culture that gives this book an old-world romantic feel. It was innocent yet lavish. But with all that I loved about this story, it did feel simple. There wasn’t great complexity and I felt very predictable. There weren’t any big plot twists that I’ve come to expect form Mead from reading the VA series.
The character development was a slow burn which dominated the story line. But not just for Fei and her love interest Li Wei, it was like the whole village was coming of age. Very rarely have I read a book where there is such a dynamic shift for all the cast.
A pleasant, easy read for an afternoon with a mug of hot chocolate, or if you want to really get in the mood, a pot of green tea.
Overall reaction: Elegant.
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