Hello there people! So, last Thursday I uploaded a spoiler free review of Soundless which you can check out by clicking here. But there is much left to be said and that involves spoilers. So, if you have read the book or you really don’t care about it enough to avoid spoilers, read on.
This MAJOR spoiler-y review is divided into a few parts so just check out whichever topics strike your fancy and skip the ones that don’t seem that appealing or just read it all (bonus points to your respective Hogwarts house for that ; D )
A) Zhang Jing and her impact on the story
– 1) The myth?
– 2) Fei’s discovery
C) Lose of sight
E) Miners and artists
F) The ending
G) Things I don’t understand
A) Zhang Jing
So for those who need a recap of who this is, Zhang Jing is Fei’s sister who mostly just appears in the start and at the end of the book. She didn’t have much of an appearance in contrast to how much she actually motivated Fei to continue her quest.
So Fei is mostly but not entirely motivated to to go to the township in order to get more food by her sister. Zhang Jing had started losing her eyesight and when the authorities came to know about that she losses her place as an artist and becomes a servant. She would have become a begger but Fei convinced the authorities otherwise.
“Pride is the only thing I have left, says Bao. It’s the only thing any of us have. They’re taking everything else away from us.”
I found Zhang Jing’s character to be the most relatable character in this book. The humiliation she had to go through was terrible but through all this she had a sense of self respect and did her duty. I felt pretty bad for her but she didn’t let her loss of sight (which had to be really agonising) and her servitude break her morals. Many people in this situation would be really agitated and angry but she was just purely defeated. Now imagine my surprise when I see her at the end, still having faith in her sister, even though she disappeared with just a simple note (that didn’t explain anything; no whereabouts, or exact motives) and she even participated in that (very underwhelming) insurgence.
1) The Myth?
I was very intrigued by the fact that the people in Fei’s village had only read about sound and still all of them believed it was true. I mean how can you know the “powers” of something that you’ve never encountered or have a soild proof of? These people have never heard a thing in their entire lives and still have absolute belief that their ancestors had the sense of hearing. Fei hadn’t had a single clue of how sound exactly works until she was herself able to hear and I think only the scholars know much about this and the rest of the people in their village would have been clueless! How can they still have faith in it? How do they not question the integrity of this mysterious hearing thing they are told about? Does everyone take it for face value?
2) Fei’s discovery
When Fei first started to hear she didn’t believe that she was actually listening and that’s totally rational behaviour. But this just makes me think about how many things we might just straight up dismiss or call riddiculus because that may sound too farfetched. (Pun intended)
I did really enjoy all the descriptions given about hearing in this book. Sound is described so beautifully in this book that it almost sounds magical. It really was quite amazing reading about someone discovering sound when all they have known about it comes from stories. This is just another thing humans take for granted. I do wonder how it would actually feel like to hear for the first time. Laughter, music and voices of my loved ones are the sounds I cherish, how exactly would it feel for someone to hear those for the first time? This book did portray it well but it’s still just fiction.
“I’ve gained a new insight as to how sounds can be helpful for communication and survival, but until this moment, it never occurred to me that sound could enjoyable too.”
C)Lose of sight
While I was reading this I thought that it would have been so scary for these people to loose their sight when they don’t have another one of their senses. What makes it even more scary is the fact that their whole village may go blind and there would be no one look after them (Pun unintended). There is a chance that they may all die slow and painful deaths, most probably from starvation.
Now here I am going to be really annoying and say that I kinda knew that the mining was the reason for the lose of their senses. Not that I had any idea of the actual processes on the topic of mining, really I don’t know a pebble’s worth but in the start there was written that Zhang Jing had to observe the inside of the mine and the primary candidates for blindness were the miners…it wasn’t that hard to connect the dots.
D) The township
When Fei and Li Wei first went to the township and looked at the abundance of things that are luxury in their own village, I was forced to acknowledge the fact of how privileged I am to have everything I need to survive and so many items just for my entertainment that must be such a luxury to many, many people out there in the real world struggling to feed themselves and their families. But looking at myself I saw that I still crave for more virtually useless for survival items. This thought humbled me and made me see that I should cherish the things I have.
Now, when they were there in the township, their own village seemed so insignificant as most people seemed oblivious to the fact that there is place in need and to realise that your world and your deathly problems may mean nothing to someone else must be devastating. Now, the king and the workers of the township send food through the line and the people back in the village take whatever they give and don’t even question that it would be the fair amount. They live on the mercy of the line keeper. I was a bit surprised with the revelation that the line keeper wasn’t a cunning old-ish man who had a big fat moustache (not anything against that kind of people–except that cunning part). The king knowing the harms from mining still let the people of village do it was really cruel but I can see all these things above mentioned resembling things that happen in the real world.
“We are at his mercy – his and the line’s. Is that truly balance? Or is it extortion?”
E) Miners and artists
I hated the fact that there is not a sufficient amount of food for everyone, yet they have created such an unfair divide of it. I think that in way, here in this particular story, the miners are more important than artists as only because of their work the food is provided to the whole village. And as for the food distribution I think it should be equal between everyone but if someone had to get more, from a logical point of view, it should be the miners as they use more physical force and ergo require more energy.
Between Fei and Li Wei I saw a lot of contrast in their way of living. Forget about living conditions for once but the work they do to survive. Fei loves painting and although her job is limited to what she can paint, atleast she can do what she likes doing and still fulfil her needs of food and shelter whereas Li Wei is obliged to mine, where there is no pleasure for him but without it he won’t be able to feed himself. And it’s a sad reality for millions of people and there seems to be nothing anyone can do about it. Because someone has to do the work refused by others but is still required for one reason or another. Sounds harsh but isn’t it true?
F) The ending
For me the ending was quite underwhelming. I expected more after a lot of build up from the book but it remained an undelivered promise. The Pixius were described like these majestic creatures who were valued beyond belief but also a myth through out the book so I felt pretty …meh when they finally came around in the ending because it happened like some sort of tell not show, if you know what I mean. They were described well but they didn’t show that kind of majestic-ness. I didn’t like fact that they dealt with the soldiers by killing them. The king is the one to blame. I totally understand what the soldiers were doing was not right, but just remember they were doing all that under the orders they had received. I am not sure what could be the alternative. Maybe capturing them or something. But this ending left me quite disturbed.
G) Things I don’t understand
1) So there were these two villages that were mining toxic metals for the township but are there anymore villages like them? It was never explicitly said that there aren’t any other villages.
2) This point is not only about this book but in general. Fei starts to hear, right?(duh that’s the plot) So she hears people speaking but couldn’t understand it. The line keeper wrote them notes in their language, that means these people speak the same language. Now my question here is- when the people of Fei’s village and she herself reads, what sound (for the lack of better term) do they come up with in their head? And if they are speaking the same language and Fei does read in a similar pronunciation, why can’t she understand what those people are speaking? If anyone knows what this is all about please tell me in the comment section below.
3) I really don’t understand why everyone in the township was so wry of deaf people. People actally ‘recoiled’ when they saw them signing. Did I miss something?
4) I don’t know if I skipped over it but did the town and the villages have a name?
So, tell me, what were your thoughts on this book? Do you agree with my points or have a different opinion? Tell me all that in the comment section below (because really I have nothing better to do). Go follow me on Goodreads and Instagram… But only if you want. No pressure. Although I do upload some funny things up in the stories on Instagram every once in a while. Or well I do like to think that they are funny.