Soundless by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A lot of people are going to flock to this book due to hashtag politics or other agenda-driven reasons. While I'm hesitant to fault anyone for reading books for any real reason, the good news is that Soundless is a great read that feels very familiar without running on the same road when it comes to fantasy stories.
This tale is about a village at the top of a mountain. There's no sound at the village, but there is a mine that the people of the village use to trade for food and goods with the city below. Things are getting bad, though, because the town with no sound is also experiencing citizens losing their sight. Then, one day, Fei begins hearing, and everything changes.
The story reminds me, in ways, of The Knife of Never Letting Go in the use of senses to drive a narrative. This book is both more interesting and, in ways, more brutal, and also relies on some existing Eastern folk tales to drill down to this story of oppression. There's a lot to love on the surface, but the more I thought about this story, the more it ended up sticking with me. It loses some points with me because I really felt like the ending was a bit of a deus ex machina cop out, but it doesn't change what was great about the story along the way.
A good YA tale, handles ideas of deafness and disability in general in an interesting and accessible way, and has a lot of good, fun fantasy/YA elements to keep those reading at a more surface level entertained as well. Ultimately closer to a 4.5.
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