Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Released: 10 November 2015
In a village without sound…
For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.
One girl hears a call to action…
Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.
She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…
And unlocks a power that will save her people.
This book is such an intriguing read with an interesting concept. Despite some of the negative reviews I have seen for it, I was still excited to dive in, and it did not disappoint.
In a Chinese mining village isolated up the top of a mountain, their only contact to the outside world is a zip line which sends them supplies in exchange for the precious metals they mine. The village is like no other, with the entire population deaf. But this does not stop them from their daily tasks. Miners spend their days in the mine, artists observe the day's events and paint a record for the village to read the following morning, and servants busy themselves with cooking and cleaning, etc. But there are a number of villagers who have lost their sight as well, and many have limited vision. When supplies from the township below become scarce, tensions rise in the already rationed village. One night, Fei has a strange dream that results in the return of her hearing. And when her friend Le Fwe is determined to brave the dangerous descent down the mountain to save his people, Fei joins him in order to use her hearing to protect them from the dangerous avalanches that plague the mountainside. When the reach the bottom they discover the truth about the fate of their village, and find a way to save them before it's too late.
I really enjoyed this book! It's a really interesting concept, and I think Richelle Mead did a fantastic job bringing the story to life. I had never read anything about Chinese culture or folklore, so it really intrigued me, and I was not disappointed by what I read. I know a lot of people have had issues with the story, but I enjoyed a majority of the story.
There were a few issues, the first being that the book was being referred to as a 'stand-alone fantasy' which it isn't really. There are a few fantasy elements at the end of the story, but overall it was more cultural and mythological than fantasy. This certainly wasn't a deterrent, as the story still flowed well and I don't think it needed the fantasy throughout, but it is something to note if you are hoping to read a full-on fantasy. In places I also felt that the characters, time period and setting were a little underdeveloped, but I wasn't really fussed about these in the end. Maybe if the book was 50 or 100 pages longer, it might have resolved these issues.
It was great to read such a diverse story. Not only is it about Chinese culture, but also about deaf culture - both of which I haven't read before. I really enjoyed Fei's experience with understanding what she hears, and I think Richelle Mead did a great job at portraying someone's reaction to being about to hear for the first time, in a community where no one is able to hear.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are wanting to read something a little bit different and diverse, and if you enjoy books based on mythology and folklore. It's an interesting concept and perfect if you are wanting to get into something new and original.