Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Soundless (from Goodreads):
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…
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Author
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
Even if Richelle Mead wasn’t one of my favourite authors ever, the cover of this book alone would beg me to pick it up!
Soundless was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 simply because it is Richelle Mead’s newest YA novel–and a standalone one at that! I’m used to Mead’s paranormal series–both adult and YA–so I was very, very curious to see what she would do with a standalone novel. I also love mythology/folklore based stories so this seemed like a no-brainer to pickup.
The Concept / The World:
What I love about Richelle Mead’s ability to build worlds is that they are complex (meaning they have layers) but they are easy to understand and get acquainted with. It doesn’t take copious amounts of pages to understand what the setting is; but at the same time I never feel like the world is under developed.
The idea that this village has no hearing is really intriguing–and is very well done. You can tell she has done her research on the matter. It was very easy to visualize every aspect of this book as I was reading.
As for the folklore, it really doesn’t come into play until later on in the story so don’t expect it to be there as soon as you start.
I don’t know why I was expecting a faster paced book before I picked this up as this story reads very much like an adventure story; and that is because it is. I usually find adventure based stories to be a little dull and I did feel that with this one at times. However, Mead does a great job of ending her chapters in places that make you want to continue. So in that respect, I did find it to be suspenseful at times. I also liked its unpredictability as it kept me on the edge of my toes; wanting to see what was going to happen next.
BUT, I still feel like the plot is really simple. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it is just your personal preference. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and the straight-forward plot made it a little boring for me to read. And to be honest, I don’t know what else you could do with the story she wanted to tell to make it a bit more exciting.
So I’m a bit mixed on my feelings for the plot: I think the simple plot works for the story but I can’t help but want the more complex plotlines I’ve come to expect from Mead’s series.
What I like about Fei compared to Mead’s other heroines that I have read is that she doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of them (mainly Rose or Sydney). While she is a rule follower, I didn’t feel like I was reading Sydney reincarnated as a Chinese artist who lives on a mountain. All the characters are their own selves and that made it enjoyable to read but at the same time, they weren’t anything you haven’t encountered before.
Fei is a tad on the dull side but I liked her spirit. I didn’t hate her but I didn’t love her either.
This is the only place where I find the synopsis is a bit misleading. “Unlikely romance” implies that it comes out of nowhere but when I was only a chapter in, the “unlikely romance” becomes very obvious. So in that respect, I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It really is just a small background subplot and nothing really develops from it.
My Rating: 3/5
This one is really hard to review because I such mixed feelings. I really wanted to be blown away by this novel but it fell a little short in that regard. It’s beautifully written–no question–but I just wanted more from it. More action, more drama and more romance. I think if I read a review prior to this, I would have had the right mindset and have enjoyed it a lot more. Simply put: it’s a straightforward tale with a little Chinese folklore thrown in about a girl who uncovers the simple truth about her village.
Read if You Like: slower books, adventure books, simple plots
Avoid if You: want more action, want more drama
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Interesting review! I’ve seen this book around, but I wasn’t sure it was my kind of read. I’m not reading that many books with complex plot lines, but I understand what you mean when you say you find it a little too simple, at times. The synopsis and the author makes me curious, though. Maybe I will try to read it! 🙂
It is a really quick read if you want to try it!
It definitely kept my attention throughout, I just wanted a little more from it, especially with my past experience with Richelle Mead’s work 🙁
I understand. I haven’t read any of Richelle Mead’s work yet, so maybe if I start with this one, I’ll be going from pleasant surprise to AWESOMENESS 😀
I felt a lot of the same things towards this book. Overall, I was just left wanting ~more~ from it. I did like the simple yet not-lacking world building, as well as the fact that Fei wasn’t a carbon copy of Rose or Sydney, like you said. But everything else just fell kind of flat for me. The romance was probably the biggest let down, though, because it was very obvious from the start, and I didn’t really feel like there was any kind of real connection between the characters.
To be honest, I was pretty disappointed in this book, especially since I had built it up in my head quite a bit. I LOVED the Vampire Academy series, and really liked the first three books of the Bloodlines series (I have yet to read the rest!), so I guess I was expecting that same kind of love for this one, but alas. It was not to be.
Great review, lovely!
Agreed! I remember finishing it and going “That’s it?” Like you, I had really built this book up to be something amazing and felt really let down.
I’m hoping The Glittering Court will bring back the Mead I’m used to 🙂