Narrator: Kim Mai Guest
Published by Razorbill on November 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours and 18 minutes
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: James
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.
I really enjoyed Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, and I loved her Bloodlines series, so I was eager to try SOUNDLESS and see what she could do in a different world. However, I wasn't pulled into SOUNDLESS in the same way I was the Vampire Academy universe.
I was instantly intrigued by the fantasy world that SOUNDLESS is set in, until I realized that SOUNDLESS was just a post-apocalyptic dystopia book in a fantasy world. I enjoy dystopia style books every once in awhile, but most of them use the exact same plot devices as each other and SOUNDLESS is no exception. Once I realized it was a dystopia story line nothing surprised me, and it was all painfully predictable.
To be honest though, I can ignore predictability if I can fall in love with the characters, but I wasn't able to do that. Just like the story line, the characters fit into every dystopia novel ever. One anxious to protect her younger sibling at all costs, within the system, and the love interest who only wants to buck the system in the hope of saving everyone.
The one shining star in SOUNDLESS was the original premise that drew me to the story. Everyone in SOUNDLESS is deaf. I was really worried that Richelle Mead wouldn't be able to pull that off, but she did a beautiful job. I personally am not deaf, but I have two sisters who know ASL and a best friend who is getting her certificate to be an ASL interprator, so I think I have a little more experience than your average Joe with deaf culture. I was really impressed with how Richelle Mead handled it all, and that alone made it worth reading for me.
In the end, I enjoyed SOUNDLESS, but it just didn't have the strong characters that I've come to associate with Richelle Mead's books. Maybe the issue was that SOUNDLESS is a stand alone novel and there just wasn't enough time to properly develop the world and characters. However, if a book with a cast of deaf characters interests you, definitely give SOUNDLESS a try.
Notes on the Audiobook: Kim Mai Guest does a wonderful job on the narration, but it did feel a little weird listening to a book in which none of the characters spoke vocally with each other.Series Titles: