**It has been brought to my attention that this book is ableist in its treatment of the deaf community. Upon further reflection, I completely concur, and I apologize for not recognizing it when I first read this book. I should have known better.**
I really enjoyed this book. I have never read a Richelle Mead novel before (because I am definitely someone who will literally judge a book by its cover, and her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books just have really terrible covers…but I know that I should get past that and give them a try), so I don’t have anything of hers to compare Soundless to, but I thought that it was really well written.
Soundless takes its cue from Chinese folklore, and tells the story of Fei, who lives in an isolated village on top of a mountain. Everybody who lives in the village is deaf, and they receive food from a zipline (their only connection to the outside world) in return for the gold that they mine. People in the village are slowly losing their sight, a real problem for a community that communicates visually. The food shipments are getting smaller and smaller, and people in the village are starting to get nervous. When Fei awakens one day having regained her hearing, she is empowered to climb down the mountain with her childhood friend, and plead her village’s case to the people below.
I really enjoyed Fei’s character. It was nice to have a heroine who was intent on saving her home, but wasn’t physically strong or snarky. Don’t get me wrong, I love those characters, but I enjoyed reading Fei struggle with what was actually required of her to save her village. Watching her come to grips with her village’s situation, and how difficult everything was for her, made her character so much more believable.
This was an excellent, standalone, easy-to-read fantasy novel. I highly recommend it.