Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 272 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2015
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...
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

At its heart, SOUNDLESS is a strong, empowering tale with a main character that is easy to respect. But to get to its heart one must get past a lot of its issues.

To begin, this book reads more like a dystopian novel to me than a fantasy. Granted, the very end marks the novel as a fantasy, but otherwise it's the typical group of people being suppressed by an evil government that we know nothing about--and will never find out anything about--so one girl takes it upon herself to save her orphaned sister and her people while she somehow manages to snag her childhood love/ultimate hot guy along the way. There's a lot of staring into one's eyes on this crazy journey, let me tell you.

Fei is just another example of the little engine that could. When the odds are against her and she is under great duress, she finds a way to complete her journey because she believes in herself. It's cliche yet powerful all at the same time. Her and Li Wei's goals to save their village atop the mountain are commendable, but their journey is rather boring. The two of them as our main characters are easy to get behind, but very bland. The storytelling is boring as well. They're off on this crazy adventure, but I found myself flipping pages more out of duty than out of need. The first 70 or so pages of the book to set up the world were particularly hard to focus on, and the only thing that kept me continuing my read was the fact that the characters were on a journey to find answers. But, gah, I just wanted to sit there and scream why is it taking you so long?! You could have avoided so much pain and heartache if your people just stopped living in fear of the unknown! The knowledge that a lot of this could be avoided added frustration to my unwanted boredom where the story lulled.

I have to say the most redeeming aspect of the book is its unsung beauty. The Chinese folklore was beautiful to read because it has given me something I have never encountered before, so I really enjoyed that. But more than anything, I loved Mead's descriptions of sound and how she chose to depict Fei's first noises. It is beautifully done and so imaginative; it really showcases her strengths as a writer. But, with that in mind, I wish the regular story had more detail to it. The world-building is lacking and I am left with a lot of questions and no answers, and the detail for the rest of the story is simple. It's like there are moments of sound where descriptions nearly burst off the page, and then there are moments for everything else and that's that.

All in all, I come away from this book satisfied I read it, but with no extreme like or dislike of it. I am simply neutral. It is a beautiful tale that makes for a quick read, but its storytelling is hindered by a lack of world-building and proper detail, and an adventure story that doesn't get your heart racing. Mead is a brilliant author and her skills shine through at moments, but I am sorely disappointed after having such an immense love of her other stories. As always, though, I can't wait to see what journey she takes us on next.

3 stars 


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Little engine that could... lol.
    Yes, this was quite disappointing! I thought the story and characters were so unforgettable. :/ It felt like a very lazy effort from Richelle. I hope her next series is better.
    Great review, darling!

    1. She totally felt like the little engine that could haha

      Same, I want THE GLITTERING COURT to wow me so hard.

      Thank you, Danielle <3