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Soundless

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Soundless

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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Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

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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.

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