Book Review: Word and Breath

Word and Breath
(Wordless Chronicles #1)
Published By: Susannah Noel
Publication Date: August 31, 2012
Page Count:  336
But it at:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Source:  Ebook Kindly Provided by Author
  Audience:  New Adult -Dystopian/Paranormal 

Can you imagine a FUTURE world where very few people can read?  It's hard to envision but this is the captivating premise for Susannah Noel's Word and Breath, set in a post-Cataclysm future society.  The current government, known as The Union, would rather its people not be able to read...because reading begets knowledge, which begets knowledgeable people forming rebellious groups to over-throw the government (The Front).  There is, however, a small population of society who CAN and are permitted to read--they are known as Readers--and are employed by The Union to oversee any literature for hidden messages of rebellion found in highly sought-after and illegal-to-possess old books. 

Riana Cole is a Reader...taught by her legendary and rebellious grandfather.  22 year old Riana and her younger, disabled sister are all that's left of her family now, and so Riana is determined to play by the rules and keep a low profile in order to just eek out a living and take care of her sister.  However, something Riana innocently overlooked in her job sets in motion a series of events that keeps Riana from staying under the radar any longer.

I quite liked Riana Cole as a heroine.  She was smart and thoughtful and honest, if not a little too self-deprecating at times.  She hides her beauty behind unremarkable clothing and the always present braids in her hair, and I understood why she chose to appear this way even though it's a common theme among protagonists.  And despite her attempts at quashing her physical beauty, she still attracts the attention of the men around her, which she often believes they view her as a friend.  That is until Mikel suddenly appears in her life as a knight in shining armour and stays put.  She's undeniably attracted to Mikel from the get-go, and vice-versa...and who wouldn't?! 

Mikel represents the supernatural element in this story...he is a Soul-Breather.  I'm still not sure I can fully and accurately describe what a Soul-Breather is...but he seems to have the power to sense, taste, amplify and suppress others emotions.  Sent by The Union to infiltrate Riana's life and learn where her loyalties lie, Mikel soon develops feelings for her that conflict with his original assignment.  I ADORED Mikel and his commitment to Riana.  He had some tough decisions to make about his future, if that might include her, even though not all his feelings for her were fully reciprocated for understandable reasons.  One might argue that his feelings developed too quickly for Riana, but his nature explains that, so I'm happy with how that aspect of the story went.

Reed Connor is the other man that has known Riana for a very long time...since she first came to the Office of Readers at the age of 14.  Riana always had a secret crush on him but he seemed to treat her like a little sister until he suddenly disappeared a few years later.  Unbeknownst to Riana, Connor did have feelings for her as she grew up, prior to his leaving.  When he re-enters her life, what forms is a love-triangle that was believable and hard to pick a side.  Connor is the methodical, research-oriented guy that prefers to think things through before acting on them.  I loved both Mikel and Connor, much like Riana did, for their differences.  I'm dying to see how that all plays out.

Dystopians are a genre that I absolutely love to sink my teeth into...and Word and Breath will definitely be another series I will follow.  This first installment did seem a bit dry in the middle where I had a harder time focusing my attention but there was enough romance and action to keep me coming back to it.  Some things still left me wondering...such as what WAS the Cataclysm, who exactly makes up The Union (we have yet to be introduced to a controlling figurehead) and what exactly was the 'old language'...but I also think it was meant to be discovered as the series moves along.  Word and Breath had some exciting twists, and the author was not afraid to sacrifice a character or two that we came to appreciate.  I also liked how there was resolution of the plot in this installment with the overall story arc still left to be played out.  I'm looking forward to seeing what comes up next, and how Riana's relationships with Mikel and Connor further develop.

Even though the ages of the main characters are in their 20's, there is nothing inappropriate, so far, that I feel needs to warn younger teen readers away from this story. 

I'd like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review her book.


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.


  1. Interesting premise. I've not seen this one before. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Annette! I recommend checking this one out! It's good!

  2. I have read this a while ago, maybe two weeks.
    It was a very good book and the idea was intriguing.
    Like you, Michelle, I find it hard to pick sides. Mikel or Conner? I don't know, they are both so protective and adorable!
    Nonetheless, I loved the action and I am dying to get my hands on the second book!
    AWESOME post, Michelle-B
    Your constant reader,

    1. Hey Soma! Thanks!! I'm so glad to find someone else who has read the book and enjoyed it like me! YES! Hard choice between those two boys for sure! Looking forward to book 2! Thanks for following!


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