So I am currently doing the Biannual Bibliothon Challenge, one of the challenges was to read the group book Soundless by Richelle Mead. Getting through it certainly turned out to be a challenge...
I've never read any work by Richelle Mead before, but I'm familiar enough with the popularity of her Vampire Academy series so that I expected an enjoyable read from this stand alone novel. Although I had been suspicious from the amount of advertising I'd seen around this book. A book by a popular author shouldn't need a huge marketing budget, book advertising can be to a degree self sustaining in this day and age between booktube and Goodreads.
Unfortunately is seems my suspicions were well founded, I finished this book very quickly, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was because I found myself skimming. Paper thin, is the best term that comes to mind.
The main character Fei, has no personality, none. She is noble, but that's it. She is a basic hero who wants to do the right thing; however there is no real conflict nor learning she has to do through the story. Fei is a painter, she desires to paint the magical images in her head but has to use her talents to record the events of her village in order for them all to survive. A great source of conflict right? No, because nothing is done with it. She only ever does her job without fail, she is never tempted to steal supplies for her to work on her own dreams. And in the end she is rewarded by getting to draw the the fantastical as part of her day job.
The love interests? They are basically non-existent and I will spend no more words on them.
The world building is weak at best, small tidbits about China that feel like they were taken from a Wikipedia page are thrown in as a vain attempt to give depth. However the narrator is Fei, who barley feels human and thus the voice fails to breath any life into the world or story.
The town has been struck by deafness for generations, they communicate fluently without any problems through sign language. And I mean without any problems, at one point a character crosses his arms in frustration... and is apparently still signing away. The main character begins to get her hearing back as other start to go blind as well, not that the blindness is ever really a plot related problem. Fei's sister starts to go blind, but it is only used as the inspiration for Fei to break the rules and find a better life, it doesn't actually hamper the plot. I expected during the final battle for the sister to end up in harms way because of her failing eyesight, but no... she's fine.
And now I have to talk about the ending, throughout the book there is reference to the Pixsu. A mythical creature that apparently stole the sound away with them into the mountain; now. Perhaps this is my own fault but I expected a cleverly woven metaphor to come through. The Pixsu to be a symbol of danger or personal strength... not to be literal. Yes, the Deus Ex Magical Creature ending didn't sit with me well at all. It was too clean and too easy, it glossed over things such as the Pixsu had fled when men had built weapons that could kill them... but every weapon the army brings to defeat them bounces harmlessly off.
It feels more like Fei got hit on the head trying to climb down the mountain and dreamed the rest of it... loving the boy she has always loved, being the special snowflake who saves her town with the help of mythical lions.
All while being unconscious against the rock... dying.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.