17 November 2015
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
This novel is just... kindda strange. At first, everything about this world seems realistic. Actually, for about 90% of this world, I could at least connect with the main character because it felt like the story had a possibility of being real, in a time set in the past. Then the ending came along and kind of just blew all the wind from the sail. Not only does it ruin the whole illusion of possibility, but it takes the story in such an unpredictable direction that I feel cheated by it. The ending definitely feels like a let down, but then I wasn't all that excited about the story up to that point either if I'm being truthful.
The other thing that irks me about this book is this concept of being soundless. At some point during the story, Fei finds the scrolls in the archive/library from around the time when they were just starting to lose their hearing in the village. In the particular scroll she is interested in, the author tries to explain the sounds so that the deaf ancestors will be able to at least try to understand. And this part I get, and actually find okay. But then about 2/3 of the way through the novel, she is hearing 'rumblings' and 'gasping' and using these foreign words seemlessly as if she has known the meaning of them all along, that she has had the sense of sound from the beginning. That really bugs me, because it feels so inconsistent, like Mead just dropped the whole pretense, or simply forgot for a while about that portion of the plot. Considering how fundamental that detail is, it feels like a huge overlook on her part.
Then we get to the plot and the characters themselves. They are alright, but there is nothing inherently exciting about them. The romance in this novel is so cliche and bland, and Mead doesn't really dive into the relationship between Fei and her sister, which is probably my favorite dynamic in the story. None of the characters are developed; the only characteristic really used to ever describe them is either deaf, blind, or something in between, relating to their senses. I can't tell if this book should have been flushed out more to develop the world and the characters, or just completely skipped in the first place. After the disappointing ending that was the final nail in the coffin for me, I'd suggest just skipping it.