Sunday, February 14, 2016

Soundless by Richelle Mead

For generations Fei's village has been cut off from the rest of the world, their only source of food and other essential supplies is the zip line that connects them to the village at the base of the mountain.  In a system that has worked for generations the villagers mine for precious metals and send them down in the zip line, with the line keeper sending food and other supplies up in return.  It is not a perfect system, the food they receive is barely enough to keep the village alive, but at least it is something.  Escape from the village is practically impossible, not only because the cliffs are dangerous, but also because the entire village is deaf - and it is impossible to miss falling rocks if you can't hear them coming.  

Fei and her fellow villages are used to a world without sound, but now some of the villagers are losing their sight as well - including Fei's sister Zhang Jing.  It seems as though the village is doomed, especially when they are punished for asking for more food.  It seems hopeless, but then one morning Fei awakens from a dream and discovers that she can hear.  Armed with a secret weapon that might make it possible for her to climb safely down the mountain, Fei volunteers to travel in secret with Li Wei down the mountain - a journey that might bring them some answers.  What they find is a shocking truth that places their lives in great danger, because there are powerful people who will stop at nothing to prevent the truth reaching the villagers.  Fei must find courage to face the truth and fight for her family, her friends, and her village.

Soundless is one of those amazing books that is terribly difficult to review - because if you are too detailed you blow some of the twists and turns that make this book so amazing, and if you are not detailed enough then it makes the book almost sound boring (which it most definitely is not!).  Richelle Mead has created a truly original and believable world that seems to have come straight out of medieval China, a world where the lines between mythology and history are blurred by time.  The basic concept of a village where everyone is deaf is unique, especially as the reason for the deafness is unknown and people just seem to accept it.  Into this soundless and very traditional world steps two characters who have the chance to change everything - if only they can find the inner strength to do so.  

Soundless is amazing and Mead has managed to find a unique voice in an increasingly cluttered teen market - creating a book that deserves to be discovered and read because it is an amazing book, rather than just a well marketed one.  If you enjoy reading fantasy that has its feet well grounded with a sound mythology and strong characters, then you have to try reading Soundless and discover Fei and her world for yourself.  Highly, highly recommended.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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