Ahoy there mateys . . .
soundless (Richelle Mead)
This was one of the ports I wanted to plunder, and I did not expect to have the opportunity to get a hold of it this soon. I had come across this author’s name before but had never read any of her work. Much to my delight I was able to commandeer a copy and it was so worth the read.
This is the story of Fei, who lives in a mountain village mostly cut off from the rest of civilization where all people communicate by signing due to generational hearing loss. Fei is an artist in her village where art is less about beauty and more about observation and record keeping. The village is threatened and Fei is the key to its survival.
There is a simplicity to this story and its characters that was appealing. If you are expecting deep philosophy and thoughts, then don’t get this one. But the story has a strong main character in Fei and a wonderful secondary character in Li Wei who helps her. Friendship, loyalty, familial duty, sacrifice, strength all play a part.
And it has Pixiu! I had heard of ancient Chinese mythology having five auspicious animals. I knew about the dragon, phoenix, tortoise, and Chinese unicorn. Pixiu is the fifth. I have seen examples of them in Chinese art but apparently had no idea what I was really looking at. Makes me appreciate it more after the fact. Ah learning something new is wonderful.
“Pixiu is considered a wealth-bringing divine animal with a dragon’s head, a horse’s body and a unicorn’s feet. The animal, capable of flying, looks like a lion and has gray fur. Pixiu is fierce and powerful by nature. As such, it is in charge of patrolling duty in the sky to keep demons, ghosts, plagues and diseases at bay . . . Pixiu is also believed to be an animal capable of driving away the evil spirits of a particular place and bringing happiness and good luck . . . Pixiu is an auspicious animal with a ferocious nature and fierce loyalty in protecting its master. It is considered a house-guarding animal with the ability to ward off evil spirits. That’s why many Chinese people wear jade ornaments shaped like a Pixiu.” Source.
Did I mention this novel made the New York Times bestseller list?
The author’s commentary:
What is Soundless about?
It takes place in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Chinese myth. The heroine, Fei, lives in a remote mountain village where no one has ever been able to hear. One morning, she wakes up with her hearing mysteriously restored and must risk becoming an outcast to save her people from a dark threat. Oh, and she has to do it with her ex. I mean, did you think I’d make it easy for her? It’s like you don’t know me at all.
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