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A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor and Sabaa Tahir.


"Fans of characters like Rose Hathaway and Sydney Sage will flock to this impressive stand-alone novel."
Booklist
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 Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever....
From the Hardcover edition.
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor and Sabaa Tahir.


"Fans of characters like Rose Hathaway and Sydney Sage will flock to this impressive stand-alone novel."
Booklist
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 Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever....
From the Hardcover edition.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2015 Penguin Random House LLC


    CHAPTER 1

    MY SISTER IS IN TROUBLE, and I have only minutes to help her.
    She doesn't see it. She's having difficulty seeing a lot of things lately, and that's the problem.

    Your brushstrokes are off, I sign to her. The lines are crooked, and you've misjudged some of the hues.

    Zhang Jing steps back from her canvas. Surprise lights her features for only a moment before despair sets in. This isn't the first time these mistakes have happened. A nagging instinct tells me it won't be the last. I make a small gesture, urging her to hand me her brush and paints. She hesitates and glances around the workroom to make sure none of our peers is watching. They're all deeply engrossed in their own canvases, spurred on by the knowledge that our masters will arrive at any moment to evaluate our work. Their sense of urgency is nearly palpable. I beckon again, more insistently this time, and Zhang Jing yields her tools, stepping away to let me work.

    Quick as lightning, I begin going over her canvas, repairing her imperfections. I smooth out the unsteady brushstrokes, thick- en lines that are too thin, and use sand to blot out places where the ink fell too heavily. This calligraphy consumes me, just as art always does. I lose track of the world around me and don't even really notice what her work says. It's only when I finish and step back to check my progress that I take in the news she was recording.

    Death. Starvation. Blindness. Another grim day in our village.

    I can't focus on that right now, not with our masters about to walk in. Thank you, Fei, Zhang Jing signs to me before taking her tools back. I give a quick nod and then hurry over to my own canvas across the room, just as a rumbling in the floor signifies the entrance of the elders. I take a deep breath, grateful that I have once again saved Zhang Jing from getting into trouble. With that relief comes a terrible knowledge that I can no longer deny: My sister's sight is fading. Our village came to terms with silence when our ancestors lost their hearing generations ago for unknown reasons, but being plunged into darkness? That's a fate that scares us all.

    I must push those thoughts from my mind and put on a calm face as my master comes strolling down the rows of canvas. There are six elders in the village, and each one oversees at least two apprentices. In most cases, each elder knows who his or her replacement will be—but with the way accidents and sickness happen around here, training a backup is a necessary precaution.

    Some apprentices are still competing to be their elder's replacement, but I have no worries about my position.

    Elder Chen comes to me now, and I bow low. His dark eyes, sharp and alert despite his advanced years, look past me to the painting. He wears light blue like the rest of us, but the robe he has on over his pants is longer than the apprentices'. It nearly reaches his ankles and is trimmed in purple silk thread. I always study that embroidery while he's doing his inspections, and I never grow tired of it. There's very little color in our daily lives, and that silk thread is one bright, precious spot. Fabric of any kind is a luxury here, where my people struggle daily simply to get food. Studying Elder Chen's purple thread now, I think of the old stories about kings and nobles who dressed in silk from head to toe. The image dazzles me for a moment, transporting me beyond this workroom until I blink and reluctantly return my focus back to my work.

    Elder Chen is very still as he takes in my illustration, his expression...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 5, 2015
    Fei lives in a mountain village whose inhabitants have been deaf for generations, relying on artists like her for their daily news. Isolated by rockslides and unable to descend the mountain, the villagers depend on food supplied via a pulley system from the kingdom below. The price of survival is the mountain's gold and silver, and the majority of the population works in the mines. But now Fei's people, including her beloved sister, are starting to go blind, which will mean their extinction. After a vivid dream, Fei wakes with the gift of hearing and struggles to comprehend the new sensation of sound. She and her childhood friend Li Wei embark on a desperate effort to avert her people's horrifying fate. Like her heroine, Mead (the Vampire Academy series) paints with a delicate brush (when Fei sees brightly colored silk for the first time, readers feel it as an explosion of the senses), creating a fablelike story that melds folktale, sacrifice, romance, and the stark realization of humanity's capacity to exploit others for profit. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2015
    Bestselling teen author Mead weaves Chinese folklore, themes of family, courage, and loyalty, plus her signature romance into her first stand-alone fantasy novel. At the top of a jagged mountain, an isolated mining village exists in silence. Fei, like her fellow villagers, cannot hear or speak. For generations, they've been cut off from the rest of the world and rely on a zip line that carries food up from the valley below. In exchange, they send down precious metals. As artists who record daily events pictorially, Fei and her sister, Zhang Jing, live a more comfortable life than most. However, with many villagers losing their sight, Zhang Jing included, and dwindling food supplies, something must be done. One day, Fei wakes up with her hearing miraculously restored, the perfect "weapon" to save her village. Fei teams up with her childhood sweetheart, Li Wei, and they descend the mountain together. After several harrowing adventures and near misses, Fei and Li Wei discover the horrific truth behind their circumstances. Can they rally their people together against the oppressive regime and conquer forbidden love too? While Mead may be commended for attempting to create a world based on a non-Western culture, her use of Chinese mythology and culture is superficial at best. She could have renamed her characters and plonked them down in medieval England with no real narrative impact. Readers hoping for non-Western fantasy alternatives need to look elsewhere. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    Gr 7 Up-Fei and her sister, Zhang Jing, live in a mountain village where everyone is deaf and has one of three jobs: artist, miner, or supplier. Fei and Zhang are both artists who paint pictures to illustrate the news of the day. Fei knows that her sister is in trouble when she begins to lose her vision, as she will become a miner if she can't continue to convey the news. In fact, others in the village are also losing their vision. Then, Fei suddenly can hear-but why? Knowing that the answer is out there, Fei and her friend Li Wei set out to get help from a forbidden place in the valley Beiguo. While they are there, they discover the surprising truth about their own village and know what they must do to save its members. Inspired by Chinese folklore, Mead has ventured away from "Vampire Academy" (Penguin) and written a stand-alone fantasy. While the story line is a bit predictable and Fei's ability to suddenly hear doesn't seem overly surprising to her, there is plenty of action and intensity after the duo sets out to find the valley, with a light romance between Fei and Li Wei that will please readers. VERDICT Fans of the author won't want to miss this multicultural, folk tale-based tale.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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