Author: Richelle Mead
Publication: November 10th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5
This book is extremely sensory. I never realized that there are pretty much no words for conversing outside of speech. The book uses words like "said, say, replied, etc" and these are words I had only reserved for speech. But the characters in this book use sign language. I guess same can go for text over a phone or computer. This person said this, this person said that, but really, that haven't SAID anything because you can't hear them. This was just the main thing I kept thinking about as I read this book.
One of the other main senses that was prominent in the book was sight. Fei describes colors so beautifully that it made me realize that a lot of people probably take these simple, everyday things for granted. But Fei drinks in all the beautiful things in her life because, aside from her ability to paint, there isn't much beauty in her village. Or at least that's the conclusion I came to. But sight was soon to be another luxury for Fei's small village.
Li Wei was a very noble man. When comparing him to Fei's betrothed, whatever his name was, you can't help but wonder why and how people were sorted into their job fields. I know having a wonderful art skill is one of the higher trade skills but Li Wei could carve beautiful things. So why was he in the mines? He is also a very honorable man. After all is said and done he does right by Fei and it was definitely a great way to end the story... Even if I do want more.
I feel like a lot of people went into this book hoping for this amazing, epic fantasy journey and they came out disappointed and because of that they failed to see the real beauty of the book. Yes, it does have love and a bit of adventure. But you need to imagine what these people feel. This book is more than fiction. It can teach people what it's like to be different. To struggle because of certain disabilities. And it shows that what most of us view as a disability really isn't. How can something you've never known disable you? Plus, the book is more Myth than fantasy. It is a somewhat retelling of the Chinese Pixiu myth. Pixius were these magical protectors.
Towards the end of the book is where the Chinese Mythology becomes very noticeable. You get to learn about Pixius and the myth surrounding them and just what they meant to the little mountaintop village. Then you also get to see just how easily a corrupt ruler can take advantage and completely isolate people. But the ruler wasn't alone there. Why did Fei's people stay on that mountain? I know there were dangers. I know they were told this entrance was blocked off, this cliff could cause an avalanche. But why did they just blindly believe these things? Why did no one ever venture off and try to find a better life? Creatures of habit maybe? But they were all hungry. You would think people would go off and try to find food.
With all that aside, I think Richelle Mead did a wonderful job on this book. She captured colors, sounds, and so many other senses very beautifully. I think one of the main things that probably confused people was the conversations. They didn't have quotes or he said, she said. It was just Italic lines of communication that you have to decipher who was talking at the time. I do, however, think the book should have been marketed differently. Maybe for it Chinese Mythology retelling rather than just saying it's fantasy. Yes, it has a ton of fantastical elements but the story is based around mythology. I would love to read more of this story. I know it's a standalone book but I truly loved the world and everything I learned from it.
Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.
Here is a link if you want to learn more about Pixiu's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixiu