Soundless by Richelle Mead


3 out of 5 stars.

Now that I am finally moved and in my new house, I can start blogging again!

This is a very asian-themed fantasy with a fantastic premise. Fei lives in a mining village cut off from the rest of the world. Everyone in the village is deaf and then they start going blind. Fei occupies a fairly lofty position, an artists who sketches the days events and displays them to the village.

Since the village’s survival depends on their steadily sending ores down in exchange for food, the village is inching closer and closer to disaster. The villagers going blind can no longer dig as much ore, but they cannot survive on much less ore.

When Fei suddenly regains her hearing, she decides she can help her village. She and a young man start the treacherous climb down the mountain to talk to the mysterious people who are their only supply line.

I was very much impressed with such an unusual premise and I liked the exploration of what it would be like to suddenly hear if you never had. Especially if you had lived all of your life in a soundless environment, so no one else you know has any knowledge of sound either. It was an ambitious premise, but did not quite live up to the promise.

The book was very short and did not really explore everything it should have. The plot was a very simplistic one for such a good beginning, and, while the sudden marvel of being able to hear after a lifetime of silence was broached, it was never really fully developed, so it fell a little flat. Fei should have been immobilized with stimulation for days and completely freaked out at suddenly having another sense. Instead she rallies unrealistically quickly and sets out on an adventure, learning to use her hearing almost instantaneously.

I hate to think that my passion for YA lit might be fading, but this one left me feeling pretty unsatisfied. It was formulaic and undefiled and did not really live up to what it potentially could have been. There was the usual romance and the usual adventure and the usual overcoming of obstacles. It fell flat.



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