This is a new feature I am trying out, where I take my books places to see. As an introvert, reading is a mostly indoor activity for me. But sometimes those books need to see sunshine and beautiful places, so I will try to take some good ones to some beautiful places. And Japan is a beautiful country indeed, with a blend of futuristic and natural in harmony. This time, for Soundless, I wanted to visit places that resonate with sound. As I was reading the book, I was interested in how the protagonist Fei, who being deaf all her life, suddenly gains hearing, and find the experience a trial but also an adventure. The two places I visited with the book last weekend were Kawasaki Daishi and the banks of the Arakawa, for the Adachi fireworks – both places with sounds that Fei would love to experience.
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 . . .
I must mention – I was very excited for Soundless. It is a Richelle Mead book, and has a diverse setting, plus it has influences of Chinese mythology. The story is of Fei, a girl born in a mountain village of all deaf people, who for some reason, has suddenly regained her hearing. Her village survives on the trade with a township below, a place they have never visited because they are trapped on the mountain. So, for decades, or centuries, they have been dependent to the township for food, and mine and send their precious ore in return. Fei is an artist who writes the town news every day, and when things get dire, she and her childhood friend/first love descend from the mountain to seek the truth.
The thing I loved best is how the author brought about the novelty of sound in Fei. She has never known what sound is, and this new sensation is akin to us normal humans think of getting superpowers. It is new, and is challenging, exciting and unnerving at the same time. Tied in with the story of the village is their folklore, which most believe to be a myth. Fei is an adventurer, and sees the beauty in things like an artist, which makes her for an interesting perspective.
But then the story is pretty short, and the romance is sort of, lackluster. I didn’t feel anything for them – they could have made the journey as friends and still the story could have been practically the same, making the romance unnecessary. The secret of the village was not that big of a surprise as I thought it would be, and towards the end I was worried how things were going to wrap up in a short number of pages; that is, however, exactly what happened because the ending was super-rushed. A whole fantastical element was suddenly added at the end, throwing off the pace and atmosphere of the novel. So, while it was a decent read, it was nothing amazing.
Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer
This week’s question is:
Do you always put a book cover in your posts when you are mentioning books or just text?
I usually always put book covers when referring to a book, as well as link the image to the Goodreads page for the book. If I have reviewed it here on my blog, I then instead link the image to the review.
What happens when society wants you banged up in prison for a crime your parents committed?
That’s the situation in which Ant finds herself – together with her little brother Mattie and their foster-parents, she’s locked up in a new kind of family prison. None of the inmates are themselves criminals, but wider society wants them to do time for the unpunished ‘heritage’ crimes of their parents.
Tensions are bubbling inside the London prison network Ant and Mattie call home – and when things finally erupt, they realize they’ve got one chance to break out. Everyone wants to see them punished for the sins of their mum and dad, but it’s time for Ant to show the world that they’re not to blame.
A speculative dystopic story about a future in which the hatred and division amongst humans reaches such a point that innocents are being put in jail in the name of justice. Heritage crime, a concept of punishing the relatives, esp children, of criminals who escape punishment, arises in the US (it always starts in America) and then spreads to the rest of the world. Prisons are created to contain these strutters, who serve the punishment of others. In one such prison, Spike, Abigail and her brother, along with their foster parents, are all serving the sentences of their respective parents, in a family annexe compound. Though it is a prison, there are plenty they can bargain with, and live with some degree of freedom. This infuriates the regular prisoners in adjoining prisons. On the outside, they are already hated because they are seen as people who enjoyed the spoils of crime, and politicians fueling this hatred means, the strutters are hated on both sides.
When Abigail sets out for revenge and causes a cascade of events that lead to a prison riot, all their lives are endangered. On the run, she and her friends fight to survive, hide, but most of all, return to free the others. They are also concerned about the safety of their family in the prison, under the rule of their tyrant Assessor, a man known for his blatant and raging hard-on for punishing strutters. In a way, the story is more about the action than the characters, and that series of events drives the plot more than anything else. The fact that it does not focus on the characters (as much as I would like it to) also diminishes the point of a POC heroine. But the writing is exemplary when it comes to the action; at some points it was so intense I had to actually put down the book because I was getting so nervous about the turn of events. It is quite unpredictable in some ways, and in others it reminds a bit of other dystopic novels. In summary, it is a good piece of speculative fiction, and great for those who love action-packed intense plots.
Received a free galley from Penguin Random House UK Children’s, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.