Published by Razorbill on November 10th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Bookworld Reviewer Program
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From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. 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 and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...
A stand-alone story involving an isolated Chinese village, written by a well-established YA author: Sounds amazing, right?
Well, in a lot of ways, it was. The book is only short and the pace is relentless, at least once Fei leaves the village. I loved the idea of a village perched on top of a mountain, supplied only by a zip wire. The addition of the villager’s deafness and encroaching blindness added an extra facet to the story, even though the dialogue still looked like normal speech on the page. I kept having to remind myself that they were signing to each other.
To be honest, the Chinese influence isn’t that obvious. The calligraphy involved in the artists’ paintings, plus the creatures the villagers call Pixiu were the two main elements that felt Chinese to me. The rest could really have been set anywhere.
There is a love story here as well, but it’s mostly a foregone conclusion as the book starts. Fei mostly just stares at Li Wei the whole time, and he basically says, “You’re mine” and she says “No, we can’t. Oh alright then.” And that’s the end of that. They’re cute, but it’s not the most mind-blowing romance.
Since this book is a stand alone and quite short, the story ends up being quite simple. I was slightly disappointed by the deux-ex-machina nature of the ending, but it was quite satisfying. I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this book much, but I did, honest! It wasn’t just a pretty cover (although the cover is very gorgeous). It’s a quick, light read and should entertain YA readers of all ages.