Showing posts with label soundless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soundless. Show all posts

Sunday, March 5, 2017

[Review] Soundless - Richelle Mead: Ableism and Cultural Appropriation





In SOUNDLESS, Fei, who grew up in a village of Deaf people who are slowly also losing their eyesight, suddenly is able to hear when her village is in danger.
What intrigued me: I really liked her Vampire Academy series.

How to offend disabled people: the book

You have to be very, very, very, very careful when writing about disability. Especially when you're not disabled yourself. SOUNDLESS is the story of a girl that lives in a village of Deaf people and suddenly starts hearing.  Mistake 1: Don't "cure" disabilities for plot. 

I was hoping for a book that celebrates disability and portrays it as the absolutely normal thing it is - but nah. Disabled people in Mead's fantasy world are the losers of this story because they can't hear unlike special snowflake protagonist Fei who was magically cured. This book certainly would've dearly benefited from a sensitivity reader, anyone with a disability would have whipped out their pitchfork when coming across this book.

SOUNDLESS is proof that you shouldn't write about marginalized people if you have no experience whatsoever with the things they go through and aren't willing to put the research and resources in to make sure that the portrayal accurate.

Who needs world building?

My bitterness aside - I signed up for the typical fantastic Mead writing with a great voice and I got it. The writing truly is exceptional. Mead's storytelling is flawlessly effortless. It's very descriptive, but I personally like this, because it adds to the calm and withdrawn atmosphere of the book. The world building may be easy to understand, but that's because it doesn't exist. Nothing in this book makes sense and we just have to deal with it. 

The signed conversations between Deaf people are a little difficult to read and get used to because there is no indication that's dialogue.

Mead put an equal amount of research into the Chinese folklore part as she put into the disability part. Exactly zilch. The only thing that's sort-of-Asian is the nature surrounding them, their names, and their clothes. Here and here are some reviews by Chinese reviewers who went into more detail on this.

Still, as much as I admire the writing, SOUNDLESS is just an epic fail overall because of how Mead handles disability and the Chinese characters, and a massive disappointment. 


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you have a disability or are very educated and passionate about disability issues, do yourself a favor and don't read this. It will only lead to high blood pressure. SOUNDLESS may be the most ableist book I've ever read, but let's not jinx it.



Additional Info

Published: November 10th 2015
Pages:  266
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781595147639

Synopsis:
"In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so 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. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.
 "(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books about deaf characters?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

10 Most Disappointing Hyped Books I Read in 2016 feat. Red Queen, Soundless, Cinder & more





Sometimes hyped books end up disappointing unfortunately. Here are the ten biggest disappointments of 2016 for me. 




THESE BROKEN STARS - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Another one that makes me want to cry. My favorite thing ever in Sci-Fi is people exploring foreign planets. Why is this such an instant love romance, come on, give me space exploration!! (Dec 2013, Disney Hyperion) Goodreads

THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER - Melinda Salisbury
So many people told me to read this and the title sounds fantastic and so does the premise of this girl working as an executioner at court with her poisonous touch. But well, the book really isn't about anything. Nothing happens. Aside from a love triangle. (Feb 2015, Scholastic) Goodreads

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC - V.E. Schwab
This is the dangerous thing about hypes. You never know if you can trust them. I genuinely don't understand what I just read ????? (Feb 2015, Tor Books) Goodreads




RIDERS - Veronica Rossi
Boy, am I sad about not liking this. I love apocalyptic books and a book about the four horsemen of the apocalypse pretty much sounds like it's made for me. Sadly, I found this super boring. (Feb 2016, Tor Teen) Goodreads

SIX OF CROWS - Leigh Bardugo
This upsets me so much!!!! I love reading about thieves. I really wasn't a fan of the way Bardugo twisted European cultures and mashed them up together for The Aesthetic. (Sep 2015, Henry Holt & Company) Goodreads

CINDER - Melissa Meyer
I honestly looked forward to this so much, I love space, I love Sci-Fi things. But then this: POC for the aesthetic, Asian cultures mashed together completely detached from their meaning. I want to cry. (Jan 2012, Feiwel & Friends) Goodreads



SOUNDLESS - Richelle Mead
I was rooting for this. I keep trying out new books by Mead and end up disliking all of them for some reason. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. But this one really takes the cake. Magically curing your disabled protagonist for plot reasons and belittling blindness. (Nov 2015, Razorbill) Goodreads

TALON - Julie Kagawa
Dragons. That's all it took to get me interested in this. Unfortunately this isn't High Fantasy but a paranormal shifter romance with a love triangle. (Oct 2014, Harlequin Teen) Goodreads

RED QUEEN - Victoria Aveyard
I should've seen this coming because it generally received mixed reviews. But yeah, the reviewers are absolutely 100% right about this. (Feb 2015, HarperTeen) Goodreads


TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE - Jenny Han
So many people recommended this to me and asked me to read it. I had high hopes because there's a biracial protagonist and an Asian girl on the cover and I liked the premise! In the end I found it really dull and couldn't quite get into it, unfortunately. (Apr 2014, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? Which hyped books disappointed you in 2016?

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