My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Asian Lit
This Review contains no spoilers.
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.
I picked this up at a used book store after having debated buying it at my local not used bookstore (read: Barnes & Noble) for months, and I will admit I’m glad I waited. It was much cheaper at the used store and wasn’t worth the price it was at the new. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good book, it was a pretty decent book, it just wasn’t as good as I had been expecting, given how much I’ve seen of it.
It should have been a lot longer. Yep, I rarely say this about a book (usually I say “man this dragged on and on and on”, but that was far from the case here). There was so much happening that I barely realized this book covers the span of less than a week, and there were times that I was like, wait, we’re here already? And then there were times that it needed to pick up (did I really need a chapter describing how it feels to climb down a mountain?).
Tiny spoiler in this paragraph maybe? There is a prophesy. I don’t feel as though this is a spoiler, because there is always one in this kind of book, and because it wasn’t handled well at all. It just comes out of no where, and the only people who believe in it are conveniently standing in the room at the time. Then its barely fleshed out at all.
My biggest complaint was the predictability of the whole thing, there were some pretty good attempts at suspense, but none of them were terribly believable, and I couldn’t make myself worry over the outcome. The book did grip me, and it did keep my attention, but it was by no means one of the best things I’ve ever read.
Fei: She was pretty cool as far as main characters go, and some of her descriptions of what its like to hear for the first time were nothing short of breathtaking. She’s also a fairly interested character that you can get invested into.
The Elders: Every fantasy story has to have some, and they rarely get any characterization and you basically don’t need to bother with being able to tell them apart. This book was no different (it tried to be, it really did.)
Li Wei: Every fantasy has a “long lost/separated/not-allowed-to-marry love interest that the main character has known since childhood, and this book was no exception.
Zhang Jing: Fei’s sister, whom is a major part of her characterization and motivation.
There were a lot of other named characters, but to tell about them would either be a) pointless because they didn’t do anything or b) give away too much of the plot.
It was good, but as someone who loves Asia, particularly east Asia and China it was disappointing. The culture was a bit more stereotypical than I usually look for in what I’m reading, and I didn’t really learn anything else about it (which is what I love about reading books set in foreign places).
I was told the publisher rushed the author while she was writing this, and it certainly felt that way while I was reading it. It’s pretty good, and if its your kind of book (or if you love Richelle Mead), I would suggest going ahead and reading it, but otherwise I’d skip it and move onto something else. The good news is, if you do decide to read it, its fairly short, so it won’t take too long.