Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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 received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

While I was really excited to start this book based off my own culture’s folklore, I have to admit that I was quite disappointed. Soundless is a very light read, so light that I found myself floating away while reading. That is, getting bored or distracted. I feel as if not much is going on in the book in terms of action, but instead Mead focuses on world-building and characters.

From the beginning we are introduced to Fei’s village, and how one day she can hear sound in the midst of deaf people. Her sister is going blind, and the village relies on a zipline to bring food to them because they can’t grow their own. Things are pretty tense there, and even more so when other villagers start going blind. Mead really draws out the beginning, and the explanations got a little tedious for me. I expected a quick journey, but you’re put through a good amount of reading about the different aspects of Fei’s life before going on that journey.

Finally when Fei starts off with a cute love interest to get more food for her village, things got a little more exciting. She’s exposed to things that she’s never seen before, while at the same time discovering her feelings about the love interest. Who’s a total cutie-pie.

However, what got me disappointed was the cop-out at the end. I feel like Mead really pulled a deus ex machina on the readers, which was anticlimactic for me. The ending is very sweet and satisfying, but the climax just didn’t do it. And it really hurt the book overall since it was a standalone. I was left bereft of action and excitement, instead focusing on the punch Mead threw when most of the problems in the book got resolved like *snap*. 

There was such a build-up with conflicts piling on top of each other, when we end with a small fizzle. Yes, there were incorporations of Chinese folklore (DEFINITELY. Will not argue with that.) But I kind of missed the whole Chinese tradition thing. I never really felt IMMERSED in the world, or thought that it was a Chinese one, at that. (If you ignore the myth-like aspects.) Maybe that was just higher expectations from a Chinese reader, but it really didn’t pop out for me when reading the book.

I would recommend this for fantasy readers who are interested in Chinese culture and a short and sweet and simple read. The book passes like a blurr, and the ending, while anti-climactic, was certainly satisfying.



14 thoughts on “Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

  1. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Noooooooo! When I saw you had read Soundless I was super excited, but it sounds like a bit of a disappointment because of how light and fluffy it is. The story kind of sounds like a typical fae read, only based around the Chinese folklore. I guess I’ll have to adjust my expectations then!

    • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

      Awww yes I would recommend that, because I came in like, “SO PUMPED BECAUSE CULTURE! CHINESE REPRESENT!” But then left with a “mehh” feeling. 😛 Either way, I hope adjusting your expectations will heighten your enjoyment of the book!

  2. Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

    Hmmm… I was kind of excited for this one because it’s a standalone. I haven’t read VA or Bloodlines because I don’t want to commit…but it sounds like Soundless is a pretty disappointing standalone. I don’t like that there’s Chinese mythology incorporated into the story, but no Chinese culture. Like if you went to the trouble of researching mythology, you might as well put a little more effort into the setting and the culture.

    • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

      Very true Jenna. It was quite sad for me to read because the mythology and folklore carried much of the story around, rather than the actual details of Chinese culture. It’s a really short read though, so if you do end up reading it you’d fly by it quickly!

      • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

        I might wait and pick up her new series. From what I’ve heard each book in the trilogy features a different perspective of the same story… so it’s almost like a standalone. Or maybe I should just suck it up and read VA.

      • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

        Nahh, I’d say just pick up the new series. VA was such a commitment to me, and I feel like I could’ve read much better books instead of that 6-book series. And now I’m probably gonna make myself read Bloodlines too since the characters are interconnected and gahh. Too much lmao.

  3. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    I’m still definitely checking this one out because CHINESE FANTASY F YES. Though to be honest my expectations are sky high, I read a lot of translated Chinese fantasy novels and they’re usually quite complex – judging by your review I need to temper my expectations or meet with disappointment. SIGH. I HATE COP OUTS *glare*

    • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

      Unfortunately I was the same… hopefully lowering your expectations will increase your enjoyment of the book! I was so surprised when I read the ending, like was this really what Mead was going to do? Either way, GO FOR THIS CHINESE FANTASY 😀

  4. shannonmiz says:

    Aw MAN. I have heard a lot of similar things about this one. I have it. And it’s signed and so pretty. But I am going to have to go into it knowing that I may just feel apathetic about it. It’s sad too because I had VERY high hopes. Until the reviews started coming in 😦 I am so sorry that this was a disappointment to you, but thanks for the honest review!

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