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Monday, December 21, 2015

REVIEW: Soundless by Richelle Mead

For generations, sound has been absent from Fei's village. High atop a mountain, her people struggle to survive amongst the avalanche causing rocking terrain, which prevents them from building a self sustaining community.  Instead, they are essentially enslaved to a zipline which delivers meager supplies in exchange for an excess of metal (i.e. silver) found deep within the mines.  Not only are Fei's people slowly starving but extended exposure to toxins in the earth make many go blind as well as deaf.

After a startilingly prophetic dream, Fei's hearing returns and proves to be a valuable tool in aiding her people. She journies down the mountain seeking answers, her ability to sense noise a benefit while traversing dangerous terrain and people. Learning the truth is disheartening when her own people shun her and are then savagely attacked; however, Fei's vision comes to fruition when the ancient and powerful creatures of legend, the Pixiu (a winged lion), return to aid those deemed worthy.

I am a huge Richelle Mead fan starting with the Succubus series and then all the others including Dark Swan, Vampire Academy, and Bloodlines. When I first learned of Soundless' imminent publication I was thrilled. The premise sounded unique and interesting, especially since it hinted at the incorporation of Chinese mythology.  Unfortunately, the novel fell flat for a multitude of reasons:

1) Protagonist - Based on Mead's other heroines, Fei doesn't have much spark. She has good motivations but is portrayed as rather bland and boring.  I wasn't compelled to like her or follow her journey.

2) Supporting characters - these were pretty 'blah' too. There just wasn't anyone all that memorable which is surprising from this author.

3) More Pixiu please!  The creature appearance needed to happen so much earlier! This would have added a new dynamic to the story and made the plot much more interesting - HINT: think Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer! (Seriously, if you haven't read the Lotus Wars trilogy by @misterkristoff put it on your 2016 to-read list!)

4) Pacing - super slow and overall uncompelling.

Overall, for me this was just okay. I've read better and worse but I certainly expected more, especially from a standalone novel.

Final rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

#soundless #mythology #Chineselore #bookreview #YAlit #teen