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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.

267 pages, Hardcover

First published November 10, 2015

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About the author

Richelle Mead

103 books67.5k followers
Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,172 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
November 11, 2015
1 star seems so harsh, but I honestly do not have anything good to say about this book. I tried to come up with something redeeming about it, but there is nothing. Mead has always been a bit hit or miss, but Soundless is my least favourite of her books to date.

I mean, firstly, if I dressed up in traditional Chinese clothing for Halloween and started calling myself Ling, I would actually be more Chinese than this book. I cringe every time I read that promotional line: "A breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore". What exactly is Chinese about this story? If you changed the names from Fei, Li Wei and Chen, this book could be set anywhere.

And frankly, that's not even close to being the worst of it. This is supposed to be fantasy, but the bland, almost non-existent, world-building reminds me of every other dystopia released over the last few years. Yet another one where an orphan attempts to protect her younger sibling, save her village and bag a hot dude all in one go.

In this village, everyone is deaf and they have been for a long time. They speak in sign language and just try to work enough to be able to eat. Food is scarce and unfairly divided between the three classes of people - artists, suppliers and miners - which all seems a bit sketchy and ill-conceived anyway, but I can't understand why miners are given the smallest amount of food. It baffles me.

It's supposed to be part of the horror of this world that these poor miners are starving, but why are they starving? They are obviously a key component to the survival of the village and they have the hardest job to do - so why are they given lower rations? I'll tell you - because this world had to be UNFAIR and NASTY for the reader. What, it doesn't make sense? Oh shush your face and enjoy the pointless angst.

Also, I expected a love story, but here it was just dull dull dull. Fei is already crushing hard on Li Wei as soon as the book opens, practically fainting in his presence:
pg.16 “His gaze is so piercing, I feel as though it will knock me over. Or maybe that’s just the earlier dizziness I felt from being near him."

But all these things just add up to the most terrible thing of all - the book is excruciatingly boring. From Fei's repeated dreams of chrysanthemums to the journey she finally decides to take with Li Wei (which largely consists of her staring into his eyes), the whole "purpose" behind this story is to discover why the village lost their hearing and ended up as they are now.

And, you know what? Not once did I care what they would discover. Not once did the fate of anyone in this book come to matter to me.

For a good Asian-inspired fantasy, check out Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Last Dragoneye.

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November 11, 2015
I'm heartbroken at having to give this a two, but I'm afraid there is little to redeem this book, one for which I've waited since I knew of its existence. I adore Richelle Mead, she is among my favorite authors, but I have to say that her latest two series have let me down. The two stars is because I like Richelle Mead.

1. It was boring. It lost me almost since the beginning. Pretty much nothing happens in this book. The dialogue was dull. The main character has no character, no spirit.

2. There's no world building. It's supposed to be a Chinese-based fantasy, to which I screamed YES YES YES as soon as I heard about it, because there are so few books that revolve around Asian culture.

This book let me down.

There was little that was "Chinese" about this book besides the naming of the characters.

There is no explanation of the world.

I don't know why the villagers are deaf. I don't know why they're starving.

Why are there only three classes of people? Artists, suppliers, and miners? Wouldn't, oh, say, doctors and healers be needed, among others? I don't know what is going on in this world at all.

The villagers are deaf. They communicate, supposedly, in sign language. It's unclear and almost unportrayed. It's more like they're communicating telepathically.

The book pretty much gives us a setting and say "Accept it." It was a very, very poorly built world.

3. The most standard love triangle in the world. Girl is betrothed to the handsomest boy in the village. Girl loves someone she shouldn't. Guess who she prefers?

This book was a heartbreakingly dull letdown.
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.6k followers
December 21, 2015
3.75 stars: review coming soon to my YouTube channel! I really liked Soundless and although I wish the world building could've been better, it was an enjoyable, quick read!
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
302 reviews40.2k followers
January 19, 2016
This one unfortunately, whilst the concept was unique and intriguing, didn't live up to its full potential. There was practically no world building or dimension. Being 250+ pages, there was plenty of room to flesh things out and paint a more vivid picture of the story world, but for the most part it just wasn't there.
I will say that I love Richelle's writing, and her books are such a breeze to read. I just wish there had been more of the story and world to enjoy.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,753 followers
September 8, 2017
B/c curiosity will one day kill me:

Okay, clearly, I loved SOUNDLESS, but ever since I finished reading it and posted a pre-preview, I've heard over and over again, "This is the first highly rated review I've seen for this book."

That wasn't surprising to me. I'm often a black sheep. Whatev. I like what I like, and I don't what I don't.

But for unfathomable reasons, I scanned a half dozen of the MEH to WTF-is-this-crap? reviews today, and now I feel the need to elaborate.

The common complaints are: it's boring, it's poorly crafted, and it's about as Chinese as Disney is Grimm.

Personally, that last one is a selling point for me. I'm bored to tears by Chinese literature/folklore, and before you decide to tar and feather me over that statement, you should know I also hate, loathe, despise and abominate American literature.

So don't get pissy. It's nothing personal. I just can't relate, generally speaking.

That being said, there was a distinctly Chinese feel to this tale, but it was . . . wait for it . . . SUBTLE.

If you don't appreciate the above irony, or worse, you think it's lame, you probably won't like this book for the same reasons the others didn't.

Continuing backwards, I don't think SOUNDLESS was poorly crafted. I think it was deliberately vague b/c FOLK STORY. That's what this is, incidentally. A new one, which, yeah, is different, but the model is the same, and folk stories are not known for their specificity.

They're supposed to apply to Everyman.

But there was a beauty in Mead's simplicity. And if you, like me, were raised on fairy tales and such, I think you will also see that beauty.

Back to this being a folk story, it's important to know this is not a full-fledged fantasy novel. It's less than 300 pages long, and you should know that going into it, lest you have unrealistic expectations.

I don't think I need to bother with the claim that it's boring. Hopefully, by now, you'll have a pretty good idea as to whether you'll like it or not. I will agree it's not for everyone. If you're uncertain, be safe and try the preview chapters first.

That is all.

One more thing . . . It irks the fire out of me when someone reviews a book they did not finish reading without acknowledging that they did not finish it. It's misleading at best and deliberately deceptive at worst.

For example, someone who had finished the book would know exactly why everyone in Fei's village is deaf and going blind. #thatisall #forrealthistime

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

It's one thing to cerebrally acknowledge that the heroes of stories are brave . . .

But when an author is able to capture that bravery, the fearlessness in the face of adversity, the lack of self when others face harm or death if they remain ignorant to newly discovered information . . . That is the foundation of a truly great book, and that is exactly what Richelle Mead has done in SOUNDLESS.

Fei and her people have lived on the top of their mountain for generations. Hundreds of years ago, they also lived and farmed the fertile valleys beyond the mountain pass, but an avalanche blocked the pass, and ever since they have been dependent on the line keeper.

The line keeper sends food and supplies via zip cord, which has always been there and leads no-one-knows where.

But the line keeper only sends the supplies in exchange for the metal mined on the mountain top, and when the villagers begin to lose their sight in addition to their widespread and complete loss of hearing (also generations ago--no one on the mountain even knows what sound is), and they begin to send less and less ore, the line keeper sends less and less food.

It's only fair.

As an artist, it is Fei's job to record the daily life, to preserve the history in text and picture, to capture the growing crowd of beggars who have lost their sight and have never had sound. Beggars who can do nothing but sit in silent darkness, slowly starving, waiting for handouts from a dwindling food supply.

Fei is to observe, never interfere. She is separate from the lower working classes of miners and servants.

Except Fei herself grew up in a mining family. The boy she loved but can never marry (Li Wei) is a miner still. And when her sister, the last surviving member of her family, begins to lose her sight, Fei can no longer simply observe . . . So when an avoidable tragedy claims the life of Li Wei's father and he decides to climb down the mountain and confront the line keeper, Fei decides to go with him.

Something must change.

What follows is an incredible journey of discovery. Of life off the mountain. Of lies and abuse. Of kernels of truth in old stories. Of determination and hope and perseverance. Of new beginnings.

And it is truly lovely.

SOUNDLESS by Richelle Mead is her greatest work to date and completely unlike anything else she's ever written. An instant classic, it deserves shelf space in every library, every home, and should be told and retold to audiences of all ages. I don't know if it's a new version of an old story or an entirely new tale based on the Chinese folklore that inspired it . . . Either way, it's as beautiful as is it timeless. Highly recommended.


I read this in like . . . 4 hours? Maybe 5? And I loved it. So much.

This is unlike anything else by Mead that I've ever read (and I've read most of her stuff).

It made me feel EVERYTHING, but in the end . . . I was just . . .


Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,633 reviews34k followers
October 28, 2015
I'm setting this aside at 100 pages. It's fine, and in a different mindset and at a different, more patient point in my YA reading career I think I might've been more into this. But this story and world and characters are not nearly as interesting or complex as they should be--even with a quieter (heh) heroine and less action-oriented plot. Not only soundless, but a bit colorless and lifeless as well, to be honest.

I do appreciate when authors try new things instead of cranking out the same stories all over again, and with anyone else this would probably be around 3 stars. But I know Richelle Mead is capable of so much more.

2.5 stars.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
November 26, 2015

This was equal parts boring and horrible. Mead essentially relies of the readers' knowledge and perception of Asian culture because there is absolutely no world building to be found. I was excited initially for this because it seemed like Mead was branching out. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a complete waste of time and words can not express how disappointing this was. I hate to sound harsh, but it really felt like this was written overnight aimlessly. I kept trying to power through to the end, because maybe it would get better. Sadly, no. It just became a chore and more mentally painful with each page I read. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.

I keep looking for the magic I felt while reading Shadow Kiss (her best book IMO), but I'm beginning to think that was a fluke. In any case, Soundless is not her best work, not by a long shot.


Thoughts before reading:

Someone in marketing must have fallen asleep at their desk, because how did I not know about this until now?! Richelle Mead is one of my all time favorite authors and I'm so excited to see her do something totally different! I must acquire this book.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
May 11, 2022
Soundless, Richelle Mead

Originally published: November 10, 2015. For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village. Her people are at the mercy of a mysterious faraway kingdom, which delivers food in return for precious metals mined from the treacherous cliffs surrounding them. When villagers begin to lose their sight, their rations shrink and many go hungry. Fei's home, the boy she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation. Then Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه ژوئن سال2017میلادی

عنوان: بی صدایی؛ نویسنده: ریچل (ریشل) مید؛ مترجم: زهرا غفاری داریان؛ تهران، نشر پرتقال، سال1395؛ در320ص؛ شابک9786008347033؛ چاپهای دوم تا چهارم سال1396؛ چاپهای پنجم و ششم و هفتم سال1397؛ چاپ دیگر انتشارات خوب، سال1397؛ شابک9786229532362؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

کتاب بی صدایی، رمانی فانتزی و عاشقانه، نوشته ی «ریچل مید» است، که نخستین بار در سال2015میلادی انتشار یافت؛ تا جاییکه «فِی» به یاد میآورد، هیچگاه، هیچکس، در روستای محل زندگیش، نمیتوانسته چیزی بشنود؛ زمین سنگلاخی، و بهمنهای مکرر، ترک کردن روستا را، غیرممکن ساخته، و مردمان این منطقه، به یاری کشوری پادشاهی و اسرارآمیز در دوردستها، غذای خود را به دست میآورند؛ اما زمانیکه اهالی روستا، کم کم بینایی خود را از دست میدهند، ارسال غذا با مشکل مواجه شده، و گرسنگی بر مردمان چیره میشود؛ تا اینکه یکشب، صدایی کر کننده، «فِی» را، از خواب بیدار میکند؛ حالا صداها به سلاح او تبدیل شده اند؛ «فِی» با پیشروی داستان، تصمیم میگیرد که هم بفهمد چه روی داده، و هم با خطراتیکه روستایش را تهدید میکنند، به مبارزه برخیزد؛ در این مأموریت سرنوشت ساز، معدنچی جذابی، با او همراه میشود، و این دو با هم، پا به سفری میگذارند، که زندگیشان را برای همیشه دیگر خواهد داد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Angela.
675 reviews1,395 followers
May 28, 2016
Y'all this was bad... Not even going to write a full review for it because I just don't think it's worth the time and effort.

Soundless wasn't put together and was boring as hell. This book seemed like it was going to be a win with it's high talk of extreme cultural influences. We were suppose to get a high action novel that wove deaf and Asian culture together... This is not what we get with Soundless. We got a thrown together, no world building, book that seemed like it was aimlessly written overnight. We get characterless characters and a plotless plot. We get a world is also divided into three groups: artists, suppliers, and miners. As if the world wouldn't need anything else.

If the story itself wasn't bad enough Mead also throws in insta love and tries to dress it up as something else. If you're going to do insta love just do it!

Mead basically says "here's your plot, here's your love, here's what happens take it! No, I don't have to explain anything or give you any background. Accept it!"

Everything that might be positive about this book was squeezed so tightly into the last few pages. But by then I wanted to walk right off the story's cliff.

Sorry to anyone who was highly anticipating this, because this is a flop.

Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,372 followers
August 10, 2019
Okay, I had my sights on this book right after it was published. It's from Richelle Mead! How much do you need?

Plus it seemed to be inspired by Chinese mythology or set in China. This was a hard sell for me.

And the characters were supposed to be deaf and using sign language. This book seemed to be checking all the boxes for me! Love, Love!

However, before I got the book, the not-so-happy reviews started to roll in. The rating started to drop. And I was confused to why.

It took me years to finally start reading this book, and now, several days after finishing, I'm not sure what to say.

First, I cannot believe that this was written by Richelle Mead. It just doesn't seem to on the same level as the rest of her books. I kept thinking that maybe this was the first book she ever wrote but was published later. Or maybe it was the fact that this has only some odd 260 pages, shorter than most of her books which are mostly series. Maybe she needs more space?

I liked the sign language aspect; I loved that when Fei started to hear, she did not understand spoken language. I was fascinated by her learning the different sounds. That was definitely the best part.

I don't know what went wrong. Maybe the proportions of the book were wrong.

A problem I had was that I did not care for a single character in this book. And I mean that. I did not care about them, their lives or their relationships. I could not stand the relationship between Fei and her sister. The protective older sister doing everything for her younger sister was over-done in the YA, and I cannot stomach it anymore.

I do not get society. Artists + elders, miners and suppliers. And apparently, some cleaners or maids who work for the artists and elders. I don't really understand the suppliers. I did not get the huge importance of the artists, but if they are the future elders, I can live with that. But I still feel like there was something missing.

I don't even know if I want to mention the romance in this book because it seemed very forced. I did not feel it. Same with Fei being promised to someone else which had next to zero influence on the story. I do not get why it was even added on such a limited space?

I was very much intrigued by what was happening under the mountain or That was definitely my favourite part of the book.

The ending... Well,

If you told me a week ago that I would be very much disappointed by Richelle Mead's book, I would laugh at you. But here I'm, disappointed by this one.
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 21 books13.5k followers
January 7, 2016
I read this today... the whole thing...
What an interesting story this is. I am a fan of Richelle Mead and this novel got me really excited!
I am in LOVE with the setting and romance of this novel. It was really believable ... until the end..

Brilliant read.
I just did not much like the end
Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,124 followers
November 18, 2015
A fantasy with a Chinese-inspired setting? An isolated village high up in the mountains, full of deaf people? A heroine who regains her hearing back and aims to use it to make a difference? WOW, BADUM-TSS!

On a perfect, ideal day, this would have been an absolutely great treat. Just from these few sentences, we can already feel the diversity of the premise!

But, alas, it is not a perfect and ideal day, because this book is boring and dull as hell. But hey, there's one thing positive from this: I'm done with it! Yay!

First of all, let me just say that I've read the first book of Vampire Academy and I've read her GAME OF X series which I absolutely, absolutely adore (to the moon and back). I've seen what Mead can do with her books: make a teenage voice very unique, authentic, and dynamic (like Rose), make scenes full of urgency and tension (like Game of X), and make settings that are full of life, history, and character (once again, like Game of X). This is why I am so flabbergasted with Soundless, because this book has NONE of the things above, even when the author is well-capable of writing them excellently. Throughout reading, all I can think of was, "Really? Mead wrote this? The one who brought Rose, Dimitri (however awful his movie actor is), May and Justin to life?!"

1. Flat heroine - if you're hoping to look for rootable, dynamic, and vibrant heroine here, I'm warning you now that you may end up getting disappointed. Don't get me wrong - I don't need a feisty heroine inmy stories, but good lord, I at least require them to have some personality in their bones. At first glance, you'd think that Fei would be intriguing - like her fellow villagers, she is deaf and she uses sign language to communicate, but she can draw and paint a mean portrait/picture. Her job as an artisan is to draw the "news" every day - what do the radishes look like today? Are there many people suffering and giving in to sickness? She and her fellow artists will draw that shit up. Like I said, intriguing, yes? However, for me, Fei is as interesting as watching paint dry. She goes on really, really long monologues about what she is seeing and observing and feeling and you'd think, "Oh this must be so poetic and life-changing!" But nope. BORING. BORING. BORING. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING. She has absolutely 0% personality. She doesn't make me feel like I could root for her anything. The most she made me feel while I was reading was a jump on the bed, because I fell asleep while reading and my Kindle hit my face.

My poor fucking face.x

2. NON-EXISTENT WORLD-BUILDING - Do not be fooled by the promised Chinese folklore or mythology or whatever bull the premise tells you because this aspect was non-existent. I was waiting for the world to be expounded and built-up, but that did not happen. We only get characters with Chinese names (we don't even know what their Chinese names mean... usually Chinese characters have their own literal meanings that when combined can turn up something ridiculous or poetic, and let's just say Soundless forgot about that part), with a Chinese-sounding city nearby and then that's that.


World-building. Chinese-inspired. Yeah-fucking-right. 

This was a half-assed book with a half-assed "Chinese-inspired" setting. We don't even know how their village came to be, or how they came upon this sort of "trade relationship" with the people down below. We hear about this sorta EVIIIIIL emperor who we only get to know in very short passing. We don't know who he really is, what his role is in the grander scheme of things in connection with the heroine's village, how his fucking empire operates, or even just a tiny bit of history of his bloody dynasty. NONE! NONE! NOOOONE! We don't even know what their fucking metals are for and why they are so coveted. Then all of a sudden, we get two or three paragraphs explaining this mythological creature called the Pixius textbook-style and then they save the day and everything's done.

On an ideal day, I would have gone, "Wha---? WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT'S HAPPENING!? WHY ARE THERE MYSTERIOUS THINGIES COMING IN A DEUS EX MACHINA MANNER?! WHY IS EVERYTHING SO FUCKING VAGUE?!?!?!?!?!" But it wasn't an ideal day, and I was just so bloody booooooored to even care.

Oh, my god. Fail. Just utterly fail.

3. Shallow plot - Don't go into this book expecting to be wow-ed by its premise and its cultural aspects (lol) or by its story in general because even for a fantasy, this is shallow. It has a story (or conspiracy?) that I bet you've seen before.I can work with predictability, sure - it's hard to find a truly original idea nowadays, and oftentimes, I rely on execution to make up for it. But this one was SO FUCKING PREDICTABLE that it made me feel like I was reading some sort of adventure book for 8 year olds.  By the time I reached 1/4 of the book, I already knew which direction it was going, and since it was already boring as hell, it made the ride so much more excruciating.

I still get shivers from thinking about it guys. Predictability + flat heroine + non-existent and half-assed world-building = 1-fucking star.

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Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
November 3, 2015
Soundless is about a village on the top of a mountain where for as long as anyone can remember there has been no sound. No one can leave the mountain because the climb down is too dangerous and there is no other way out. The village must rely on a zipline that carries food up the mountain in exchange for the metals that they mine. Villagers are starting to lose their sight and food from the zipline starts to decrease. One day Fei wakes up with a strange new sensation. She can hear. It is up to her to save her village from starvation and slipping into complete darkness.

I will start off by saying that I was EXTREMELY excited for this book. It was everything I wanted. Fantasy. Standalone. Diverse main character. Chinese influence. It sounded amazing. But I was pretty disappointed with this. The first 100 pages were brutal to get through. If I had not been planning on reviewing this I would have given up. I was bored to tears. I didn’t feel a connection to the characters and had to force myself to keep reading. Luckily around the 100 page mark things started to pick up in the story.

As for Fei as a main character. I liked her for the most part. She is very brave and willing to do whatever it takes to save her people. But for some reason I didn’t feel any connection towards her. I really didn’t care much about her at all. I felt like there was a wall up in between me and this story and I just never really connected to anything. And that was a big problem I had with this story. I just never cared about anything going on.

I also had a problem with Fei’s relationship with her sister Zhang Jing. Something about their relationship just felt off to me. Her sister is older but Fei takes responsibility for her and protects her as if she is the older of the two. Zhang Jing just acts like the younger of the two and seems immature to me at times. I guess that is just their dynamic, but it really annoyed me. It is this relationship that made it so tough for me to get through the first half of the book.

Another problem I had was when Fei first discovered she could hear. She went to read a book about hearing and sound and just from reading that one book she understood tons of vocabulary words related to sound. It just seemed too easy and quick. Sound is a concept that has been lost to her people for so long, I found it hard to believe she took to it so quickly, especially without the help of anyone else.

A lot of things about this book confused me. This book was marketed as a fantasy but it is the typical dystopian plot. Girl needs to save village from evil oppressors whilst also making cute boy fall in love with her. Nothing about it seems fantasy until the last 30 pages or so which bothered me. Also unlike the tagline says, this book is not "steeped in Chinese folklore." The only Chinese things about this book are the character names. Change those and this book could take place anywhere.

Like I said the story did pick up and I found the second half interesting enough to finish. But honestly the only thing that kept me reading this book was the fact that I needed to review it. Because nothing really stood out to me plot-wise. Nothing shocked me. Nothing made me feel anything. It just didn’t wow me in the slightest. I am very confused by it.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,948 followers
August 2, 2016
Well I thought the book was bloody awesome!


Fei and her sister Zhang Jing live on a mountaintop with many other people. Their village has been here for some time and they have no means of getting down the mountain because they can't hear. Yep, no one can hear, so if they try to go down the mountain, they will most likely be killed by falling boulders they can't hear falling.

The village gets their food sent up on a zip line from the town below. They are told the zip line can't hold a human being. They are told a lot of things.

There are different groups in the village. You have the artists that draw and write about their village. There are the servants that bring the food etc, there are the miners that have to go down and get the metals to send to the town below in order to get their food.

But now not only is everyone deaf, some are starting to go blind. Fei's sister is one that is going blind. And . . . Fei can suddenly hear one day. She is startled for sure and only tells her friend Li Wei. They have been friends all of their lives until they were separated when their stations changed. You can only mingle with certain groups which sucks because they liked each other more than that at one time. Maybe they still do . . .

After a tragedy happens, Li Wei decides he's going to sneak out one night and go down the mountain. He gets all of the tools needed for this. Fei demands to come with him, this is when she tells him she can hear and will be able to help him.

I will say they do make it to the bottom and it's a bunch of crap they find out about. Pretty much evilness and greed. They also find out what has been making their people deaf and blind. They make it back to their people and find some other stuff out that makes me want to smack some people, but they also find out something magical. I loved the magical part. I loved the whole book.

If your looking for a big adventure book this is not for you. This is just a tale of people trying to keep themselves alive with some myths and magic involved. I truly enjoyed it. You either love it or hate and I don't care because I loved it =)


Those glittering beings circle lower and lower, and I feel tears prick my eyes as I see the same wondrous forms from Elder Chen's scroll: the regal bearing, dragon-like head, lion's mane, and full-feathered wings. Dream has become reality. Myth has been made flesh.

The pixius are here.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
November 3, 2015
This book is one of the coolest I've read all year! I loved that it was based on Chinese folklore, and I especially thought that it was so cool how everyone was deaf, therefore sign language was used the entire novel. I thought this was so different than anything i've ever read, and it was written really nicely, as well. My only problem with this book is that it was just entirely too short. For a fantasy standalone, 270 pages just didn't do it justice. There wasn't enough world and character building, the Chinese traditions could have been expanded on a little bit, and everything was just too rushed. It was fast-paced, but the book needed to take time and slow down and explain more things to the reader so that the ending wouldn't be so rushed and info-dumpy and there wouldn't be such corny instalove. But this was a very unique read and I sped through it, so I would recommend it! Just don't expect to get attached to the characters, since everything is a bit fast.
Profile Image for Jessica.
265 reviews3,538 followers
April 6, 2016
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

4.5 stars
REALLY, Really enjoyed this book! I thought the Chinese Folklore was really interesting. Also reading about these character's senses or lack there of was super interesting. Richelle Mead is an incredible author and I'm sure it wasn't easy to write a book where none of the characters could hear and they all used sign language. She did it beautifully though!
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,865 reviews2,240 followers
January 9, 2016
4 stars

“Look what we've done so far. We're pretty good at the impossible.”

I didn't expect to like this one. The only book I've ever read by this author was Vampire Academy, and I wasn't super impressed by that one (despite loving the movie as a guilty pleasure). So Soundless was a bit of a risk going in, but the premise is what had me intrigued.

Fei lives in a small village in China, up on the mountains where they can only be reached by zip line. Years ago an avalanche blocked all exits from the village leaving the people up there for hundreds of years. The village has worked out a negotiation where they send down materials they mine, and food is sent up. The entire population is deaf and has been for a long time. But recently the people have begun to go blind as well.

One day Fei wakes up suddenly and she can hear. This opens up new possibilities of escape and a life greater for her people than just working in the mines. Fei and a childhood friend decide to make their way down the mountain, and what they find changes their lives.

“I went to the library seeking information on what might bring hearing back, but now I wonder if there's a way to make it go away again. I can't see why our ancestors thought hearing was such a great thing, why they mourned its loss so much. It's jarring and distracting, making it impossible to focus on anything else.”

As I said before, I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. This book flowed fairly quickly and was fast paced, despite a lot of it being descriptions of surroundings and characters. I liked Fei as a character, she had hard choices to make and ultimately was a good person and made the right ones.

I am very glad this was a standalone, another book after this would have just stretched the story. It's refreshing to come across a YA fantasy standalone as most publishers are making things trilogies for the money. The ending of this felt a bit rushed after all of the build up, but was still a great way to end things. Very romance light, with a hint of what is to come in the future.

If you want to try a different kind of YA novel, I recommend this one. It's a very refreshing and unique read among a genre where similarities and tropes are endless.

“Some things don't need words. Sometimes it's enough to just feel. You don't have to label and articulate all that's around you.”

---------pre-review 1/7/16----------------
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Considering all the negative reviews I figured baby unicorns and puppies were murdered in this or something.

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Profile Image for Shannon A.
674 reviews532 followers
December 2, 2015
Okay. I didn't dislike the characters, plot or setting. What I hated was wasted potential in this story. And to comment on all the Asian culture issues: I didn't really feel like there were any because the only thing Asian about the book was the names and a few terms (so in reality, it probably shouldn't have been marketed as such b/c it didn't deliver on that front, in my opinion. Disclaiming that I am Filipina, not Chinese. I am not an expert on culture or folklore. I think the issues regarding this can be seen by all)... really, this could be any fantasy world. And in terms of fantasy, this book was only truly fantasy for about 10 pages at the end. I don't know what to tell you. Richelle Mead is a good writer and I expected more. I thought all the elements regarding the soundlessness of the community were very interesting and I wanted to know more. Am I mistaken or did we not get an answer as to WHY any of that happened to them? Did I miss it? (UPDATE: I DID miss it. I must not have been paying attention at the end of the book LOL sorry) Not much else to say that doesn't stem from the fact that I think this book felt like an outline of a potentially great story, but didn't deliver. Bummed out.

Actual Rating 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
634 reviews571 followers
December 6, 2015
Let's face it: we all knew this was going to be hit or miss. It turned out to be the later.


First good thing about this book: it is a standalone. Trust me, less then 300 pages are more then enough to spend in this dull world.

Second best thing: the writing style is amazing. Unfortunatelly, not even an amazing writing style can help the boring plot make interesting.


Third and final best thing: uniqueness of the story. All people in the village Fei lives in are deaf and are comunicating trough signing.

Although I found it to be really interesting for all the characters to be deaf, because I have never read anything like that before, and the question why were they without the sense of hearing is the reason why I continued reading and didn't DNF it, I soon noticed that my interest for this book was less and less present.


Some things that I found to be so illogical didn't help either.
For example: when Fei hurts herself and has blood on her face the guy she was with sings to her he will wipe it away instead of just doing it first and they sign it to her.
Or how Fei's hands signalise words before she could have stopped them.
Or the fact that Fei wakes up one day with an ability to hear.
I mean, it is an okay twist, but IRL the person who can suddenly hear and was deaf all her life would 100% go mad because of that. She surely wouldn't be able to hide her new sense from everybody.

The main character was strong and likeable, but not interesting enough to make me care about her wholeheartedly.

Love scenes were what I found to be the most interesting part of the story. I know some people found them to be cheesy, clichè and too much, but I am glad they were in the book. If it wasn't for those scenes, I really don't know what would keeep my low interest going.

My biggest problem, and probably the main reason why I rated this book only two stars, is that it took 18 chapters for this dystopian book to become fantasy (for your information, book has 19 chapters plus epilogue).
It was a typical dystopian until that "plot twist" and I really, REALLY do not like dystopians.


As for Chinese folklore, I really am not in a place to judge if the novel has elements inspired by it (people are protesting it doesn't) because I am not familiar with that folklore.
But I recognized the names were Chinese!

I feel sorry I didn't like this book more because it was my most anticipated read of the year.

If you ask me, Richelle Mead IS STILL my favorite author.
Maybe this book wasn't my cup of tea, but I do believe the next book of hers, The Glittering Court , will be better.



Before reading:

We have two options here:
One is that I'm too desperate when it comes to waiting for this book to be in my hands, that I convinced myself it will be out in September (and now when I realized it's coming out in November I'm dissapointed to bits!).
Second option is they pushed the release date (and I doubt that's the right one :/ ).
November, why can't you come sooner??!!

New book from my favorite author?????
Inspired by Chinese Folklore???

I'm beyond happy !!!!!

This has just became my no. 1 most anticipated book of this year.
October 15, 2016
Richelle Mead, ¡tenías una idea buenísima y no la supiste aprovechar! ¿Por qué? ¿POR QUÉ? Vaya...

Bueno, Soundless nos cuenta la historia de una villa pequeñísima situada en lo alto de una montaña de China. Quienes viven allí están absolutamente incomunicados con el mundo exterior: los valles están bloqueados por avalanchas y los riscos son demasiado inestables como para escalarlos. Además, en la cima de esta montaña no hay tierra fértil donde cultivar, no hay árboles de donde sacar frutas y tampoco hay ganado... sólo hay minas. Y hay algo más: desde hace generaciones, todos los habitantes de la villa son sordos. La única manera en la que estas personas sobreviven es gracias a una línea que baja hasta una de las ciudades de Beiguo, desde donde les envían ínfimas cantidades de comida a cambio de los metales que sacan de las minas.

Todas estas personas, que viven bajo las más estrictas normas de etiqueta y honor orientales, se han dividido las labores, así que pueden ser maestros, artistas, mineros, sirvientes o mendigos. Esta sociedad funciona básicamente como un sistema de castas, en las que los maestros y artistas son los más renombrados y los mendigos son básicamente los parias. Además, está estrictamente prohibido relacionarse personalmente con personas de otro estatus.

Fei, nuestra protagonista, es la artista más talentosa de toda esta villa y su función es retratar los hechos que suceden día a día para mantener un registro y poder comunicarlo a los demás. Su hermana, Zhang Jing, también es artista, pero al igual que muchas otras personas, además de haber perdido el oído, está quedándose ciega, lo cual es fatal para un artista pues pueden bajarla al rango de sirvienta o, peor aún, a las minas.

El punto de todo esto es que, eventualmente, empieza a llegar menos y menos comida a la villa y los Sabios están bastante preocupados, aunque no saben muy bien qué hacer. Después de varios acontecimientos, aparece Li Wei, un minero que acaba de perder a su padre y que conoce a Fei desde que son niños, a pesar de que sus labores los separaron. Él, cansado de la negligencia de los Sabios y de la falta de respuesta de la ciudad en la base de la montaña, le propone a Fei que escapen de la villa y traten de negociar con los gobernantes de abajo para que les envíen más comida. La propuesta de Li Wei es tremendamente peligrosa, pues nadie a sobrevivido el bajar la montaña por los riscos; sin embargo, cansada de todo y sabiendo que el hecho de que misteriosamente haya recuperado la audición podrá ayudar, Fei acepta ir con él.

Como les decía al principio, todo el setting del libro y la idea de ubicar la historia en una sociedad asiática con normas y creencias culturales tan diferentes a las que estamos acostumbrados son geniales. La manera en la que Richelle Mead nos describe una sociedad en la que las personas no pueden comunicarse con palabras, sino solamente con signos y pinturas, es magistral. Y lo digo no sólo por el concepto en sí mismo, sino por el cuidado que tiene al no escribir palabras relacionadas con el sonido.

Otra de las cosas que destaco de Soundless es el cómo nos muestran la adaptación a los sonidos de Fei. Es decir, la chica recupera el sentido del oído y no es como "OMG, PUEDO OÍR, QUÉ GENIAL", sino que pasa por muchísimos estados de confusión, duda, dolor de cabeza y de sentirse abrumada por todos los sonidos que ahora la rodean. Y, eventualmente, se va adaptando hasta que empieza a incorporar a su lenguaje de signos todas las palabras relacionadas con el sonido, el timbre, la intensidad y el volumen de todo lo que está oyendo. Me gustó muchísimo que esa transición fuera algo sumamente creíble.

En cuanto a la relación entre Fei y Li Wei... vamos, estaban en una sociedad asiática de castas, así que qué podía yo esperar de ellos, jajaja. Si bien desde el inicio del libro estaba clarísimo que los dos se gustaban y no podían estar juntos por sus diferencias sociales, la búsqueda y el viaje que emprenden juntos los van a hacer darse cuenta de que hay cosas muchísimo más importantes que obedecer tradiciones culturales impuestas y absurdas. Aprenderán que, a veces, es mejor dejar de pensar tanto las cosas y dejarse guiar por los instintos y por lo que tienen en el corazón.

Ahora, ¿qué fue lo que no me convenció del libro? Su ritmo. Era una cosa rarísima. Lo sentí bastante lento, pero cuando llegaban a la base de la montaña y a esta nueva ciudad donde un rey codicioso lo maneja todo y usa a su villa como esclavos... todo pasa demasiado rápido, sin mucho contexto o explicación. Y, luego, cuando empiezan a incorporar los elementos mitológicos todo es un poco desastre porque sale de la nada y se resuelve el problema en cinco minutos. Es una lástima que no se haya aprovechado mucho más toda la construcción de mundo que se hizo en las primeras páginas.

En resumen, me quedo con los libros de Vampire Academy de Richelle Mead <3.

Profile Image for Sylwia.
1,156 reviews27 followers
September 4, 2023
Dropping at 105 pages because it offends me with its ableism.

Why I Recommend Bumping This Down On Your TBR: She writes a deaf character special-snowflake regaining her hearing and spends a lot of the book describing how beautiful it is to hear and how magnificent sound is. That's called ableism.

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Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
407 reviews911 followers
June 3, 2017
The first Richelle Mead book I've both read and liked. I've read some mixed reviews on this one, but mine is definitely positive.

Soundless is set in a Han-Chinese inspired world, in a secluded village on top of a mountain. Since the world makes no pretense of actually being ancient China, but rather a close approximation, I didn't get riled up about any historical inaccuracies. Anyway, the people in the village have been deaf for several centuries, communicating only through sign language, until one day scholar-apprentice Fei spontaneously regains her hearing.
Fei's hearing was hands-down the best part of the book. Her wonder at the experience and her struggle to place and describe sounds were fascinating to follow. When asked what hearing is like, Fei can't find words for it - she says it would be like explaining color to a color-blind individual. This part of Soundless is what I thought made the book so creative and original on Richelle Mead's part.

The people in Fei's village are also slowly going blind, and starving due to decreased food coming from the valley below. Fei and her friend Wi Lei rappel down the mountain to confront the food suppliers in the valley and find help for their village. Along the journey, the message of the book is one that speaks againt corruption, greed, willful ignorance, and resistance to change.
Which brings me to the reason I knocked one star off my rating. Hopefully without spoiling anything, I will say that Soundless suddenly turns into a fantasy book in the very last chapter; the conflict is resolved by supernatural means. Since the rest of the book was so natural and human (even the mass hearing loss was explained in scientific terms), I thought that introducing fantastical elements at the end contradicted the aforementioned message of the book. It implied that humans can't fight corruption, greed, etc. without divine intervention, and turned the ending into a bit of a let down.

But overall I still enjoyed Soundless, and am glad it's a standalone because there's too much on my tbr as it is.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
January 4, 2016
4.5 stars! Im surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this book with all of the negative reviews. Personally I really enjoyed it! I thought it was a quick, fun, easy read (perfect for the readathon I'm currently participating in). My biggest problem probably lies in the fact that it was originally described as a fantasy book to me and nothing even remotely fantasy occurred until the very end of the book. All and all, I really had a great time reading Soundless. Full review to come on my YouTube channel soon!!
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
November 9, 2015
As a Richelle Mead fan (especially when she’s not writing love triangles), I was really expecting more from Soundless. I’m accustomed to epic plot lines and even more epic romances from her, and this ended up feeling lazy in comparison. It’s not a bad book at all; I like that it draws from Chinese folklore and features such a diverse main cast. But it unfortunately falls short of my high expectations and fails to be something truly memorable.

I was, like everyone, really excited after first reading the synopsis for Soundless. The story is set in a small mining village on top of a mountain, where food is scarce and its people are deaf. They have to rely on those who live below the mountain to supply them with food, and in return they send down metal from their mines. They can’t descend the mountain themselves due to the treacherous landscape and so can never challenge the abuse from those below. Fei, our main character, is an artist who essentially draws their version of a newspaper, recording events that happen every day through pictures. She’s worried about her sister, Zhang, who is slowly losing her eyesight, and she fears that Zhang will become one of the village’s outcasts. When their already insufficient food supply is threatened, she and her childhood crush decide to risk their lives by climbing down the mountain and confronting their abusers. It helps that, a few nights before, Fei’s hearing had miraculously been restored.

I really enjoyed the setup of the story and the various details woven in to give us that fairy-tale-like quality. I could totally see this as a Disney animation movie. There are messages of family, love, and loyalty, of finding your own voice and the strength within to do whatever it takes to protect those you care about. It’s simple and lovely in that regard, and I liked that it was both a standalone and a quick, easy read. It has more fantasy elements than you might expect, too, especially toward the end.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher is because I had almost no emotional connection to the characters, and that’s a deal breaker to me. Sure, I rooted for them (that’s something I can’t not do), but I never became truly invested in their journey. Everything stayed at surface level for me. Fei and Li (her love interest) were one-dimensional and uninspiring. I liked them okay while reading – they’re both strong and caring in their own ways – but nothing about them sticks out in my memory. What’s even more disappointing is how tame the romance is, and this is Richelle Mead we’re talking about! Fei and Li have a history together as childhood friends and almost sweethearts, but they now occupy different classes within their village. There is really not much development of their romance, and the forbidden aspect falls flat. I was mostly annoyed that Fei hid behind her social status, and I wish Li had been more fully developed as a character.

I won’t be returning to Soundless like I do with Bloodlines, but since it’s a short read I won’t hesitate to say give it a try. It’s an engaging story, just not emotionally fulfilling like the author’s other books.

Note: I received an ARC of this book at BEA, but that did not affect my review in any way.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Luke Taylor.
Author 15 books299 followers
March 14, 2016
So what is Soundless?

A modern reinvention of an ancient Chinese fairytale? A clever display of limited sensory narrative? Maybe even a social commentary buried in a serenly-wrapped take-out container?


Whatever it is, I enjoyed it. My first experience with Richelle Mead, I couldn’t get past how much I liked the cover and the concept, despite the knocks I’d seen some other readers give it. But it kept staring at me in the store. I could only wonder what kind of dreamy mist and bayin-kissed tale awaited me. And so I had to buy it.
Diving into the world of Soundless with a rudimentary knowledge of ancient China (and having seen plenty of modern medeival-era Chinese movies with gratuitously gorgeous cinematography *cough*cough* Crouching Tiger *cough*cough*) I immediately felt the serene and sedate isolation of Fei’s mountain mining village. Could there have been more detail? Sure. Could the book have been longer? Absolutely. But it occured to me when Fei recieved the sense of hearing that Richelle was skillfully writing from the voice of someone who couldn’t speak. Someone who couldn’t hear. Someone with a limited sensory palette to paint the ever-waning world in which she inhabited. Someone who doesn’t even think the same way those who are reading her story think. At one point, I was hit with an overwhelming gratitude at not only my quality of life, but of my physical senses. To lose one would be a life changing experience for anyone. So, to gain one you’d been born without would be equally so, and it was a nice riff on the chosen one concept. Subtlely, Fei’s sense of description increased to heighten and stimulate a sense of excitement as the adventure picked up pace, but if ever there was a case of a finale, Soundless gives it to us in spades.

All things considered, Soundless never feels intimidating or laborious as historically-flavored pieces sometimes feel they have the right to, and if you find a peaceful moment to crack it open, you may really enjoy this quiet little slice of Chinese-spiced fantasy.

Recommended for all ages.
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
472 reviews1,174 followers
December 25, 2015
This was... ok. It was ok. Nothing amazing, not bad, just ok.

I did enjoy it, but it felt like not much happened, almost like I read a really long synopsis of a potentially awesome book, but then it turned out to be the book itself and... oh. That's it.

I wanted more character development, more character in general, more Chinese culture and not necessarily the fantasy bit because it felt odd with the other 98% of the book. But then I did like what I read, it's just that it could have been SO much more.
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