Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

 

a title here

description

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so 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. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

review

I don’t even know where to start with this review to be honest. Lots of other reviewers I trust TOLD me it was disappointing and did I listen? No, I did not. I loved Mead’s Vampire Academy series so I thought well maybe I’ll love this one anyways. Did I love it anyways? No, I did not.

Trust me when I say I REALLY wanted to like this book, and actually finishing this book seems to be quite the feat since most people DNFed it.

This is going to be a long rant….

PLOT

The first and most important point I would like to make about this book is that it’s supposed to have tons of Chinese folklore and mythology in it, and it failed on that part. It failed hard. When I was 5 years old I dressed up as Mulan for Halloween and I was more Chinese than this book. There is absolutely NO Chinese folklore or mythology added to this story at all. There are mythical creatures called pixius that are mentioned so briefly I don’t think that even really counts.

Seriously this book should be TEEMING with Asian culture and it isn’t. The only thing that’s remotely Asian about this book are the names. That’s it! This is one of the most disappointing factors about this book, since I really expected the culture/folklore to be more developed and take center stage.

There was no world building to speak of and if you’re going to try and make your selling point “A new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore” then you need to actually provide those two things. Seriously, not only was there none of the folklore but there was no fantasy aspects either. If you’re going to claim something as a fantasy you need to build your world! Convince me this is a fantasy!

Not to mention how slow and tedious the pacing was, this book is under 300 pages it should be a QUICK read. It really wasn’t though, the plot dragged on and only got exciting at the very end! If I could just take the ending of this book and extend it out, I could definitely rate this book higher. The whole thing was just…..dull and unexciting.

Speaking of the that….Remember those pixius I mentioned briefly earlier? No? Kind of? Yeah that’s the same feeling you get in the book as well. They were mentioned like two times and all of a sudden out of nowhere they become a super important plot point? The story was all over the place as far as that’s concerned…..

Here’s another thing that REALLY bothered me: The people in the village are ALL DEAF, okay? So when you’re doing your “dialogue” I don’t want you to say they “said” something when they’re actually signing it to each other. It makes no sense! They aren’t speaking to each other they’re signing! I really don’t think I’m being all that picky about this one, normally I can ignore that kind of stuff but this was actually bugging me a ton while reading.

This book is also supposed to be a stand alone novel, no series here folks. It did not feel like it though, ultimately the ending was not very satisfying and I don’t really feel like it ended at all. It just kind of stopped in a convenient place. Like I said earlier if I could extend the ending it could have been a much better reading experience.

So what did I like, right?

Well not a whole lot actually. Mead’s writing style has always been a favorite of mine and it was apparent in this book but definitely not up to snuff. She was still able to write some scenes that made me….emotional. Trust me it was the writing, not the characters.

That’s honestly all that I remotely enjoyed.

characters

Fei is the main character and she’s about as dull as a butter knife. No seriously there’s nothing exciting about her at all. She got put into some pretty intense situations and I felt like she never really REACTED to anything. She really lacked any sort of personality, she wasn’t fun to read about. I mean her job is to observe and record but come on girl you can actually DO some stuff every once in a while!

Li Wei is the love interest and pretty much the only other character in this book, if Fei is as dull as a butter knife then Li Wei is about as dull as a rock. There’s nothing charming about him at all, I don’t understand why Fei was all moony-eyed over him.

As far as any secondary characters go, they are all so unimportant in this book I won’t even bother mentioning them. Which is disappointing because I love good secondary characters and this book lacked them COMPLETELY. Anybody that wasn’t Fei and Li Wei took a major back seat in the plot.

romance

It’s pretty much got all of your basic romance cliches. Insta-love and forbidden love mostly. Fei and Li Wei basically insta-loved the hell out of each other when they were kids and now that they’re all grown up cannot be together. Why? Because of the village’s caste system, Fei is an artist and Li Wei is a miner. Therefore their love is FORBIDDEN. Great, right?

I really liked the fact that they loved each other at a young age so the insta-love was less over-whelming and that’s pretty much all I liked about it.

in conclusion

Count me majorly disappointed with this one. I LOVED Mead’s Vampire Academy series and therefore (against my better judgement) I wanted to love this one too. Unfortunately this book did NOT want me to love it.

RECOMMEND

I can’t honestly say I can, but if you have loved Mead’s other works and can look past the horrendous lack of any sort of Asian culture, go right ahead and read it.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

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21 thoughts on “Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

  1. I really wanted there to be a lot of Chinese folklore and mythology. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to read it. So disappointing. 😦
    She seriously used “said” when they were signing – that would have bothered me as well. I would forget that they are deaf (if not mentioned) and think that they were actually speaking.

    Sooo, all in all I won’t be reading this book. I haven’t read anything by her and I don’t want to start with such a disappointing one. On the other hand great review, I loved reading it! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Anna! And yes there are some other factors that could make the book enjoyable, I mean other people loved this one. But the folklore/mythology is definitely not one of them so if that’s what you wanted then I think I can honestly say don’t read this one. Hopefully I can find a good one though and recommend it to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had pretty much the exact same reaction to this book. I loved Richelle Mead’s other series but this one honestly felt like it could have been written by a completely different author. The world building seemed to be completely skipped on and I can’t remember being that interested in the plot either.
    Great review though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review. I totally get why you don’t really like Soundless. When I finished the novel I was pretty torn over the fact that there wasn’t as much folklore as I expected. In fact, I was battling on whether or not I liked the novel or not.

    However, there was a lot Chinese culture thrown in the novel, in my opinion. Fey’s values towards her family and her desire to uphold the family honor is values that Chinese people grew up with. It is from the beliefs of Confucianism.

    The idea that the higher class should not mingle with the lower class is also a trait that is prevalent in olden Chinese society. There’s a lot of novels and drama written based on this notion of hierarchy. Yes, other societies have this social issue as well. Does it make it entirely Chinese? No, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the culture did have that issue. I could do a longer breakdown, but I shall not. Unless you are interested.

    Soundless could have used better world building for sure and I totally agree with you. With my experience with Asian Cultures I was able to fill in the missing blanks for the novel. I did like how she included the Lucky statue Fey found in that one abandoned village home. As well as the lion statues that guarded outside one of the buildings in the Township. (I believe it was mentioned once. That or I literally imagined it.)

    It was great to hear what you thought of the novel. It was pretty insightful and also helped me understand why I didn’t exactly like the novel as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well thank you very much for not only reading my review but sharing your opinion on it as well! I agree with you a lot actually, the points on Asian culture that you made are spot on. I was more upset about the lack of Asian mythology more than anything. Although you’re very right about their point of view on honor as well as their caste system. Those had more minor roles in the story but are very important as well, but like I said my overall problem was with the lack of world building and the mythology.
      Once again though thank you very much for sharing this with me, it helped me open my (stubborn) eyes a bit more concerning my overall opinion on this book! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha. Yeah, I totally agree. I was very frustrated with the lack of mythology. In fact, I tried googling many times “Blind villagers on Mountain, chinese myths” and literally got nothing. Googling skills failed me.

        I’m not very well versed in Chinese Mythology, so I’m not sure what I was expecting out of Soundless. I definitely wasn’t looking forward to something like a 12(13, if you count the mouse) Zodiacs, or a Mulan retelling. With such a vast history, you would think the author would have chosen one myth to retell.

        What about you, were there any Chinese Myths were you expecting out of Soundless?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know many Chinese myths either, except Mulan like you said haha. No I wouldn’t say I was expecting any specific mythology or myths from Soundless. I think I was expecting some sort of mythical tie ins, like Mead incorporated the mythical pixius into her story I was hoping maybe she would take an already existing myth about those creatures and expand upon it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh yeah, that’s true. Chinese have a lot of mythological creatures and beasts. My family knows a lot about them. They know which creatures are good and what they can do for the home and families. I never grew up with chinese myths, however, I think that’s because my parents never offered to tell me any. That or there are not that many around.

        We have a couple of myths, which are mostly chinese spin offs from other culture fairytales and myths. Like the man who holds the world, chinese cinderella, zodiac, etc. I just remembered Mulan isn’t technically a myth because it was based off of a real person.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true, haha. Mulan is one of the few overall folklore-ish tales I know that are Chinese in origin. But there are probably many myths Mead could have chosen from to incorporate into her book I’m sure, if they’re lesser known then all the better to make them more known, right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha true. Actually she could have looked into some religious stories as well. We have a ton of those. Stories like how Jasmine became a goddess and such.

        As a child I loved looking at the paintings in the temple. They were of people who have done bad things and went to the underworld for it.

        It was very interesting, especially when I saw all the humans suffering and all the demons around them causing the suffering. How the humans got to the underworld was very interesting too. Haha, some of them was in the underworld for killing, some for stealing, some for yelling at their parents. However, all the stories very religious.

        Oh! She could have worked with the day where the underworld opens up their gates to let the spirits wander for a week in our world. It’s actually a holiday I was fortunate to learn about as a child.

        Haha. sorry for the word dump. Hopefully it was interesting?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha don’t worry about it, yes it was quite interesting! Mead had some selection she could’ve worked with, oh well. Maybe she’ll revisit the Chinese myths/folklore in another book one day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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