Soundless by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill
Genres: YA, Fantasy,
Shelved as: I am so disappointed, This is upsetting
My rating: 1 star out of 5
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.
Soundless? More like lifeless
I’m still finding it incredibly hard to believe that Richelle Mead wrote this book.
When this book was first announced, I was super excited about it. A Deaf community? Chinese folklore? A fantasy stand-alone by someone whose books I really enjoy? How could I not be excited?
But then the book came out and reviewers whose opinions I trust were giving it… less than favourable reviews. And still I decided to give it a shot. Because a) Richelle Mead and b) Tastes are subjective. Maybe this will be one of those books I love but they hate.
Aaaaaand this is why I gave up on blind optimism a looong time ago.
I mean, this book was so bad, that I don’t think I can even give it a full review. I’m pretty sure the only reason I even finished it was because I was hoping it would get better. And even then, I skim-read after I hit 53%. That’s it – hope. That was my only motivation. I wasn’t even curious about the big mystery.
And on that note, here’s the best review I can give you guys.
Great on paper. Great in theory. In execution, not so much. But this is also a writing issue, so I’ll get back to this.
Boring. They climbed down a mountain, discovered The Big Thing, and then climbed back up the mountain. There was also some junk about magical, flying, glittery kitties. More on this later.
Again, boring. I’ve seen cardboard cereal boxes with more personality than these characters. Honestly, I don’t even remember their names. And I remember shit, okay? That’s, like, my thing. I remember stuff. And if I can’t remember something as simple as the main characters’ names, you know you have a problem.
Nonexistent. Pull up a map of the world. Close your eyes. Point to some random place on the map. Even if you point to a spot somewhere in the middle of the pacific ocean, it could still be the setting for this story. There was nothing remotely Chinese about this place, or the people in it. There was nothing Chinese about the culture. At one point the MC even walked around the school while sipping a cup of tea, and it seemed so… rude. Like, I’ve never seen anyone do that. And the only reason I even remember this was because I texted a friend to ask if I was crazy for finding that weird.
Flat. Boring. Monotonous. Tell-not-show. Boring. Dry. Boring. Did I say boring? When you write a book about Deaf people, you have the opportunity to go crazy with the other senses. Mead did none of that. Everything, from the MC’s thoughts, to the movements and actions of the people around her, was so lifeless and robotic. There was almost no use of scent, and she barely scratched the surface with sight. I am not joking when I tell you that I can’t believe Richelle Mead wrote this. I’ve seen 14 year old fanfic writers who’ve written more compelling, believable stories than this.
Ridiculous. I mean, can you even call this fantasy? The whole thing with whats-her-face regaining her hearing was weak. There was just one or two breadcrumbs leading up the big reveal at the end. The entire fantasy element (the giant, glittery, flying kitty cats) was so random and dumb, it felt like it had just been tacked on to the end of the book at the last minute because the author couldn’t think of anything else.
Bottom line? This book was an utter disappointment and a bloody waste of my time. I would not recommend it to anyone. If I could go back in time and stop myself from reading it, I would. Save myself from feeling as upset as I am right now.
Richelle Mead. What happened?