Written by: Richelle Mead
Published by: Razorbill
Release date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Source: BookExpo America 2015
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
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...
Did you really give Soundless a chance?
I tried. I tried really hard. I wanted to love this book!! But I made it to page 72 and just couldn’t go on. For those who are all “but Soundless is fantasy, fantasy books are long, give it a chance” I can only say — Soundless is short. My ARC is 266 pages. I… like… what?! So yeah. I read 27%, which was enough for me to decide that if I didn’t like it by then, it wasn’t going to grow on me.
Have you enjoyed other books of the same genre?
I said above that Soundless is fantasy — that’s how I first heard it described and that’s how I’ve seen it marketed. But honestly… from what I read, it felt a bit more like historical fiction — no fantasy elements at all. (I’ve since heard that those fantasy elements kick in a little bit at the end.)
Had you been looking forward to this book in particular? Why?
Yes! I was excited to see that Richelle was writing a fantasy because I love fantasy. I tried her Vampire Academy series a long time ago, but didn’t finish the first book — it just wasn’t for me. So when I heard Richelle was writing a fantasy based in Chinese folklore, I was really excited. But, well… we all know how that worked out for me.
Did you have certain expectations for the book before starting it?
Obviously, I was expecting more fantastical elements — but that didn’t really hinder my enjoyment that much. I didn’t dislike it because there wasn’t a lot of fantasy to it (from what I saw).
The synopsis says Soundless is steeped in Chinese folklore, but I didn’t feel any of that. The worldbuilding felt pretty generic and flat, to me. I could see some of that Chinese influence, but there wasn’t any spark, it wasn’t vivid, it didn’t grab me… I was just left feeling really meh about it, which was extremely disappointing. There were also a bunch of weird little… I don’t know what to call them, “worldbuilding holes”? Stuff that struck me as super weird and didn’t add up. Which, in addition to my already-blah feelings about the book, helped to push me over the edge in my decision to DNF.
What ultimately made you stop reading?
I. Felt. Nothing. I found the worldbuilding to be super bland, as I said. The characters were… also bland. I’m not even sure what to say about them — they didn’t affect me at all. I just didn’t feel much emotion in it. Even though there were some emotional things that happened, I didn’t feel any urgency and wasn’t able to connect. When I started to feel a little like ehhh, maybe this isn’t working out, I actually kept reading because I wanted to reach the point when Fei decides to leave the mountain to help her people. I thought, maybe, if I reached that point, I’d care. But when I finally did, I… didn’t. Care, that is.
I think this book started out with a fantastic premise, but the part I read just wasn’t given enough depth to hook me. And in a book this short, 72 pages needs to be enough to hook me.
Was there anything you liked about Soundless?
There honestly wasn’t much that I actively enjoyed. There was stuff I didn’t dislike — that I didn’t really mind — but nothing I was super excited about. I wanted to like the romance, at least, but even that fell flat for me. Fei and the love interest have a history, and the book jumps into their “relationship timeline,” if you will, in a place where they have established chemistry — chemistry that happened in the past, a little spark of which still remains. The problem is, I didn’t feel any of that past chemistry, so the little that was left was just… sort of boring, to me. Which seems to be the theme here.
Would you read any other books by this author?
I am honestly not sure. I tried the first vampire Academy book, but didn’t finish that one either. It just wasn’t for me. So maybe I just don’t like Richelle Mead’s books? I’m not sure. The writing wasn’t bad. And I don’t think I had any specific problems with Soundless that were similar to Vampire Academy — the two are incredibly different. So it’s not as if her books have similar elements that I didn’t like… But obviously something isn’t clicking with her and me. Jury’s still out.
So you DNF’d the book – but would you still recommend it to anyone?
I mean… Maybe? If you like Richelle Mead’s other stuff? I know I wouldn’t recommend it to fantasy fans who are expecting great worldbuilding. =/