I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
fantasy that was published by Razorbill on November 10, 2015 and has 272 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Eternal Lover, Kisses from Hell, Silver Shadows
Soundless is a stand-alone fantasy novel based on Chinese folklore and revolves around Fei, an apprentice in art in her tiny, isolated village.
This unfinished ARC was sent to me by NetGalley and Razorbill for an honest review.
I don’t know how Razorbill expects me to do a proper review when they’ve only sent part of the book. And I gotta say, the little bit I received has so many holes, that I hope can be answered in the full-length novel.
One of those holes is that zipline. How did they get it up the mountain if it’s too dangerous to climb? How does it happen that no one is associating the mine with the sensory losses? Well, that’s my guess based on what little I’ve read. Why can’t the “classes” in the village mix? Isn’t there a danger of inbreeding if no one has been able to get to or off the mountain in generations? Since it’s the miners’ production that buys the food for the village, why would the Elders cut their food allowances? Shouldn’t they be receiving a larger ration? Why are the elderly treated with so little respect? It seems to contradict the traditional Chinese respect for the old.
The township thinks they’re being generous in shipping food to the village? I should think they’re getting paid quite well with the precious ore being sent to them! They wouldn’t get that ore at all if not for the village.
Of course, with a novel based on folklore, I suppose those types of reality don’t count.
I will give Soundless points for creating tension and a desire on my part to know more…so you can imagine how disappointed I was when the novel abruptly ended with no resolution of any sort.
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from being self-sustaining, at the mercy of a township at the base of a mountain that offers food in return for the ore the village mines.
Only, the villagers are losing their sight, and unable to mine enough ore, the food deliveries are shrinking, people are starving.
Fei is an artist in her village, at least, she is the best of the apprentices the elders are teaching. Zhang Jing is her sister, going quietly blind as Fei scrambles to shield her.
The Peacock Court is…
…the name of the artists’ school. Elder Chen is the master teaching Fei. Jin Luan is his other envious apprentice. Elder Lian is instructing Zhang Jing. Sheng is a self-important apprentice and bully, very conscious of his status. Min is another apprentice.
Li Wei is a miner with whom Fei once had a relationship until her choice took her from him. Bao is his father, and going blind.
The line keeper is in charge of the zipline in the township and decides what supplies come up to the village.
The Cover and Title
The cover is seriously gorgeous in deep rich colors and filled with a beautiful Asian woman staring intently at us as she swirls a butterfly-type sleeve of her filmy white dress across the cover. In the background is a typical Chinese mountain scene with a blue and green stormy sky, a bright light appearing behind the mountain. The woman herself appears to be emerging through a rectangular golden border with squared-off Celtic knots in the corners. The title is in a deep orange on the background of that sleeve with the author’s title in gold at the bottom of the cover.
The title is the state of the village, Soundless, and verging on sightless.