Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Summary (from 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...
I picked this one up at BEA, and normally I wouldn’t read/review something so early before its pub date, but this was just another book I couldn’t sit in the same room with and not read. It comes out in November.
I love Richelle Mead. When I learned she was doing a standalone YA novel based on Chinese folklore, I pretty much fan-girled out like I have never before. I was so happy to be able to get this one in NY and to meet the author (for a second time)! Mead is up there with my all time favorite romance writers in this genre.
So, I hate saying this, but I was a little disappointed. I did have insanely high expectations. I mean her other YA series are ridiculously good. And this book did have some amazing things going for it. I loved the world it was set in. I’ve never seen Mead do such good world building. And the idea behind the whole thing: the gaining sound back and using it save her people was utterly cool. I’ve never read a setting like this before. And Mead’s writing made it all so visible.
I just kind of feel that all the unique creativity died after that. The world was fun and different. But, then come in the characters, the forbidden love interest, and the rather dystopia-feeling plot line that I have read a million times before.
I used to love dystopias, but I have sort of gotten a little tired of this plot line. The main character is in a not so great place, but accepts the world as it has always been. Main character does everything in her power to protect a loved one (in this case a sister). Main character slowly comes to accept that this is not the way things should be and falls in line/love with a rebellious character. Main character has to decide if she should escape or try to save everyone. Main decides to save everyone (who mostly seem to hate her). Sometimes this plot can be good, or at least, I used to like it. Now, I’ve just read it so many times. And I was kind of hoping that Mead would take it in a new direction.
The characters also fell a little flat for me. I was super excited to find out that Mead was writing a standalone. But, I think Mead’s characters tend to be ones that grow on me over time. It took me a while to love Sydney and Adrian. I didn’t like Adrian at all when I first met him in the first series. But, but by the next series, I loved him. There was no adjustment time to like these characters, and I just never fully connected to them. I also sadly never connected to any side characters either. I really didn’t like the sister character much at all, so I never cared too much about Fei saving her.
The romance was also very standard. I found Fei’s and Li Wei’s relationship to just be frustrating. I’m not sure I fully understood Fei’s commitment to the status system of her society because I didn’t really see too much of it before the story got moving. And I found so much of her obvious love for the guy pushed back for no reason. Were their different professions really so important to her when their ability to get back was always so questionable?
I still read this book super fast. I loved the world. I loved the concept behind the story. I was not a fan of the romance. I didn’t really connect to the characters. And I wanted something a little more unique for the plot and characters, to go along with the unique setting. All in all, I give it a 7/10.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry that this one fell flat for you Nori, especially considering your love for the author :( I've only read one Meade book so far, but it wasn't the greatest and I probably shouldn't have started with that one since it kind of put me off her other, more beloved books. I had high hopes for this one too though so now I'm a little worried. I'm glad that you still got through it super fast and still enjoyed it despite the issues with the genre and characters. We'll have to compare notes once I get around to my copy :)