Word and Breath, by Susannah Noel is the fist book in her Wordless Chronicles series, which is classified New Adult, Paranormal/Dystopian novel. Dystopian is a genre that explores social and political structures.
Riana has learned how to stay out of trouble. She spends her days studying written texts in the government’s Office of Readers, and she spends her nights taking care of her sick sister. She always—always—follows the rules. Despite her low profile, she has mysteriously become a target. Someone has kidnapped her sister. Someone else is trying to kill her. And someone has sent a Soul-Breather to beguile her out of her secrets. Her help comes from the mythic leader of an underground rebel movement. A man who used to be her friend. A man who has silently loved her for years. He disappeared from her life without a word, and now he expects her to trust him again. Then there’s the Soul-Breather, a man who can taste her spirit with only a touch. He makes her feel things she’s never experienced before, but she doesn’t know if the feelings are real. Hired to deceive and betray her, he offers to help her instead. Without both men, she can’t rescue her sister. And she can’t discover the world-changing knowledge—buried in her memory—that has made her a target in the first place.
This was my first experience with a tale of this nature, and while it's got the feel of an Urban Fantasy, it doesn't really fit into that demographic. Word and Breath is very different and sweetly paced, making it easy for anyone, whether they're thirteen or seventy-three to pick it up. If you're looking for a steamy romance this won't be your book, but if you're looking for a story that's got a lot of potential to progress and touches on some very intriguing topics then this may be right up your alley. The power of words is a clear message here.
Our lead character, Riana, is a total bookworm. She's soft, sweet, and normal in every sense of the word. Living in a world that's been turned upside down some many years in the past she's now one of the few people left in the world who can actually read the written word. Society in this world has adapted to a system of symbols and images as a means to control people and ensure conformity. If you like movies like V for Vendetta and government conspiracies you'll definitely get a nice flavor of those here.
Mikel is the Soul-Breather, hired to get Riana to trust him, only so the government can carry out a mysterious plot. Word and Breath has plenty of cloak and dagger that will leaving you guessing until the end, but I was still a little disappointed with how it all came to a close. It seemed like after all was said and done, no goals were actually fulfilled. The series is going to continue and that's a great thing but I did want a little more meat with the opening story. Not a lot of explanation is given as to why the world ened up the way it did and what's really the ultimate goal of the people fighting the man.
I'm looking forward to the second edition in the series, I really want to see where it's all going and if the unanswered questions will get resolved.
Getting 3 and 1/2 'Bookworm' Sheep