cover image Soundless


Richelle Mead. Razorbill, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59514-763-9

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%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Nov.)