Friday, May 21, 2010

A World Without Sound by The Romanticidal Edwardian

A World Without Sound

The Romanticidal Edwardian




AU, BxE. My name is Bella Swan; good at sign language and karate. My best friend is deaf, and you know what? It doesn't matter.

SPECIAL PERV NOTE: In honor of this week's Edward, you can follow this link to learn how to sign this week's rating, flashback.


Since this is the Perv Pack’s Smut Shack I thought I would start off with…their trip to Paris…a nightclub…jazz music…a booth hidden from view…and a very beautiful Bella giving Edward a very private lap dance that definitely brought things to completion. Just one of those story scenes that stays with you long after reading.

A World Without Sound was one of the first fanfiction stories that I ever read and it is one I won’t forget. It is a beautiful coming of age story for Edward and Bella, beginning their friendship at the early age of five (5) and becoming each other’s everything. In this story Edward is deaf and has to deal with the challenges of living in a world that is full of sounds that are outside of his comprehension. At the early age of five Bella, like most young children, quickly adapts and learns to communicate with Edward.

The story is told from Bella’s point of view and begins in their teenage years, however the author cleverly weaves in moments of their past through flashbacks that are relevant to the storyline. One of my favorite flashbacks was a fairytale moment…at the age of six…Bella and Edward had their first kiss, as Prince Edward rescued Princess Bella from the fiery dragon Carlisle. It was precious, sweet and a moment to be cherished in the story. The memories shared help to fill in the history of their relationship and move the story along. I enjoyed every one.

Given that Edward is deaf and their main method of communication is through sign language, The Romanticidal Edwardian skillfully develops the dialogue “Pp…ah…Er…fff…eh..ct” (to quote a moment in the story). As you read you come to love the use of sign language and how it is effectively written, to the point where you miss it when it isn’t used. Like most couples in love Bella and Edward are so in sync that they are able to communicate with a smile, eye contact and body language.

In the story Edward strives to learn to speak meaningful words like “Bella” and of course “I love you”, and the “I love you” is spoken beautifully with the just the right WOW factor. While I do not understand fully the complexities of hearing impairments and have minimal exposure, I can only imagine the challenges that must be overcome. Throughout the story the author gives the reader a glimpse into the difficulties, whether it is in school, home, or just trying to communicate with the father of the girl you love…when the written word becomes so important. And even then Charlie is a man of few words.

The story takes you through their relationship, from best friends to their first real kiss as teenagers to wedding bells and dealing with the reality of adult life. There are moments I will never forget…when Emmett found them kissing and announced to the house that they finally did it…or Jasper’s birds and the bees speech, signed by Alice…or their last day in Paris at the top of the mountain…

The story has its moments of angst, some related to Edward’s disability and some are events or actions that happen in a lifetime. When I think of A World Without Sound…the words sweet, endearing, loving, innocence, charming, sadness, angst, fierce loyalty, beauty, sexy and hotness come to mind.

Speaking of sexy and hot, The Romanticidal Edwardian makes sure the story has the right amount of spice. Edward is the consummate gentleman, but that doesn’t stop him from getting his groove on with Bella. The sex is hot whether it is in bed or on the kitchen table and Edward’s hands are very skilled, well beyond sign language.

A World Without Sound is complete and a gem in the Twilight FF world…must-read!

Thank you to Ms. Kathy and Kimpy0464 for inviting me to be a guest reviewer. It is my first time…so I hope you like it.

I had never read A World Without Sound until it came on deck here at The Shack. I have read various fics over the years exploring the facets of people who have both physical and emotional, sometimes even mental, disabilities. This is only the second story where deafness is addressed. In A World Without Sound, Edward was born deaf. In the very first flashback, a devise that The Romanticidal Edwardian uses brilliantly to add an emotional richness and a connection to these two characters, you can already "see" these characters in your mind's eye:

Slowly, he put his hand up to his ear, and shook his head.

The girls brow wrinkled in confusion this time. "What?"

He pointed to his ear again, and shook his head. The girl copied him, and asked, "What, you can't hear?"

He didn't answer, not positive whether she'd gotten it right or not, and just continued to look up at her.

She shrugged. "Well oh well. Let's go play with the tetherball! C'mon!"

This time, she reached down and grabbed his hands, yanking him up and dragging him after her.

I didn't know then that that moment was the seal for our everlasting friendship.

As we watch the formation of their friendship through the flashbacks, we watch high school seniors, Edward and Bella, struggle to find their moment to confess their love for each other. You can see it in every gesture and even in words spoken. Edward is always very sweet with Bella, and Bella secretly uses her martial arts training to kick the ass of anyone who even thinks of hurting Edward, emotionally or physically. One such occasion, leads us to the first of two of my favorite "I love you" moments in fic. You wonder how you can pull off two, but The Romanticidal Edwardian does. I would love to quote them, but I won't spoil.

One of my favorite side stories of A World Without Sound is the fact that Bella, from the time she is five, has a HUGE crush on Carlisle before her affection is transferred to his son as they get older. This is a running joke throughout the story and adds some great comedic moments between the Swans and Cullens. The best of which is five year old Bella's proposal.

When Renee told her it was time to finally go, Bella marched right on past her to Carlisle with a determined air. All the adults watched her curiously, while Edward glared in a corner, already knowing how she was about to proceed.

Bella stopped in front of the doctor and took a deep breath. She knew how to do what needed to be done. She'd seen it on movies. Sliding down on one knee, she looked up at Carlisle.

"I don't have a ring, but I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?"

In the end, The Romanticidal Edwardian has created a friendship that I think we all envy. One that you can pinpoint it's start at a time before you could tie your own shoes. The kind that survives awkward ages and stages. One that is fierce, loyal, and protective. One, that in the end, gives you the love of a lifetime.

3.75 out of 5 Flashbacks

This is one of those stories I first read a long time ago - hence why its one of our Old Skool/Classic picks. A World Without Sound is almost a spectrum fic, as it covers such a wide ground. Spanning the lives of Bella & Edward as they both lead lives shaped very much by his deafness. What I like about this fic best is the balance that the interspersed flashbacks to Bella & Edward as children provide to our understanding of Bella & Edward's relationship as adults.

Some of my favourite moments are their flashback moments. From young toots in the playground, to awkward teenagers in one of their bedrooms, we learn so much about them as individuals but much more about their bond. We learn how they support and encourage one another - & how they love one another fiercely, desperately and perhaps hopelessly. The first few chapters - & certainly for most of the flashbacks both Bella and Edward are unaware just how deep their bond goes, and how much they mean to the other. They don't understand what the intensity of their own feelings mean. Only knowing they would do ANYTHING for the other.

I love how The Romanticidal Edwardian shows the jealousy that starts to spark when Bella & Edward think that the other might have an admirer... And I love how they finally reveal their feelings to one another. But that is not the end of their story. They still have defining years together - years where they have to adjust to a life together and what Edward's disability means to them and their future...

One tiny peeve I have is when an author inserts an author's note or a comment in the middle of their story, this happens a few times in this story. Thankfully not every chapter, and I think it is something that The Romanticidal Edwardian doesn't do anymore. In her most recent WIP the fucking fabulous Untouchable - (which I BEG YOU TO READ AS IT IS ACHINGLY WONDERFUL AND JUST W.O.W!) There are no A/N's anywhere near the story itself. So please don't let that put you off.

I imagine this story and particularly the issues that come up at the end of the story are controversial or difficult issues for some people. They are difficult issues to convey in your writing without personal experience or perspective. But they are just a story device here, designed to make you think about the characters experiences and how difficult at times things have been for them both, and their fears for their futures.

I must say how cute these two characters are - especially in their flashbacks, The Romanticidal Edwardian does such a smashing job of conveying their innocence and the strength of their convictions and their crackling chemistry - that as children they just cannot understand. This pair of best friends are utterly compelling and convincing.

That chemistry thankfully stays with them, even as challenges are thrown their way. They have a deep physical connection and need for one another. The lemon near the end, is intense and interesting. Interesting because it made me think about all the sexual noises we take for granted. The slurps, slaps, tiny noises of wet, moist, hard and soft, breaths, whispers, pants, moans, grunts, cry's. How different would we all find sex without hearing those??

I really like the sweetness and love that resonates from this fic, and how The Romanticidal Edwardian has made me think about lots of issues around disability and love and life.

4 flashbacks out of 5 from me. xx

I have a weakness, okay I have a lot of weaknesses, but right now I'm talking about my love of hot deaf boys. It may sound odd to you, but I went to special juinor high school for a time (for my learning disability) and met a lot of extremely good looking boys that were deaf. First lesson I learned, don't call them hearing impaired. It makes them pissy. Second lesson, most of them were gay. Poor, cockblocked Jeanne was very sad. Third lesson they really were no different than any other boys that I knew. It didn't stop me from trying (and failing miserably) to learn ASL (American Sign Language), or from learning enough to passably understand it, at least for brief conversations.

A World Without Sound reminded me a lot of those days. What I would have given to be BFF with one of the hot boys...UNF! This story also reminded me of the intensity, strength and purity of friendship when we are young. Bella and Edward meet at a young age, and due to Bella's fearless acceptance of Edward, their friendship is cemented within a heartbeat. It's beautiful, and it made me fall in love with this story.

At the heart of this story is Edward and Bella, their intense and unshakable friendship, and how that transforms into love. I found myself overwhelmed by the depth of this story, and how the very different story telling style she choose to tell their backstory flowed so naturally. I adored how we got to see glimpes of how their love was just as obvious to their family and friends as it is to the readers, and how Edward's attraction was VERY apparent, despite Bella's blindness to it.

As the story progresses, and Edward and Bella become adults the story's centeral theme changes. I will admit that for me it wasn't the same story, and I chose to stop reading. This was a purely personal (and completely quirky) choice on my part. I just loved young Edward and Bella's story so much, that I wasn't ready for them to grow up, and deal with these issues. To me, it seemed like there were two distinct stories, and I'm just giant mushball that wasn't prepared for the angst and character choices The Romanticidal Edwardian made. What happened to me?

So, if you want to read about young love, and a very different, but still wholly canon, all human Bella and Edward, pick up A World Without Sound. Then ping me on gchat or on twitter and we can giggle like little girls over cute deaf boys. *snicker blush*

PS If you're curious about deaf life and cochlear implants, PBS has a great site for their documentry Sound and Fury. I encourage you to check it out.

3 out of 5 Flashbacks

I was really intrigued by the premise of A World Without Sound. I hadn't read a FF story featuring a deaf person before, and I was curious to see how The Romanticidal Edwardian handled the subject matter.

As the story unfolds, you learn that Edward has been deaf since birth. He and Bella have been best friends from the moment they met, when they were both five. They share an inexplicable bond to one another, almost like two magnets sticking together. Wherever you find one, you find the other. Bella is ferocious in her defense of Edward, determined that no one will tease or mock him without first answering to her. Yes, that's right--to her. You see, Bella has a black belt in karate, which she earned solely for the purpose of defending Edward. The Romanticidal Edwardian's incarnation of Bella is one kick-ass grrrrl. Not to mention she learned American Sign Language at an early age in order to communicate with Edward. This girl is major league committed to her deaf best friend.

What is perfectly clear to the reader, and to anyone else who knows Edward and Bella, is that these two are deeply in love with each other. They pine for one another silently, convinced that their love is unrequited. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. There is a scene where Edward is watching Bella practice karate, something he always does when they get home from school. As Bella describes it,

I was snapped back into reality when I heard Edward groan softly, and then saw his feet walking toward to door; probably to the kitchen or somewhere else. I sighed. He did this sometimes, and I figured it was just because it was boring to watch me stretch. Still, it made me sad when he left, especially knowing it was my fault. But I mean…c'mon, it's not like I made him come in here…but the thought still didn't quite erase the guilt.

Bella is so clueless that Edward is in love with her, and it is adorable. The UST between them is so strong, you can literally feel it on your monitor!

What I loved the most about this Edward and Bella was their deep, strong, abiding friendship. While they both love each other, their friendship is paramount, and it hinders their revealing to one another their true feelings. They do everything together, even sleep together (platonically, of course). In a lovely twist on canon, The Romanticidal Edwardian has Bella waking up before Edward so that she can watch him sleep. She captures a beautiful moment in that image.

I refuse to spoil the surprise of the way in which their love is finally revealed; suffice it to say, Edward's confession has to be in the top ten Most Rewarding ILYs in FF. It is surprising, beautiful, touching, and poignant. It literally made my heart clench.
As the story progresses, and Edward and Bella become adults, there share some angsty times together. As most PPSS followers may know, I am a nurse. As such, I try to give authors a little creative leeway when it comes to writing medical scenarios, because most writers do not have in depth knowledge about the medical field; I can appreciate that. The Romanticidal Edwardian herself issues a caveat in her A/N about being gentle with her lack of medical knowledge. That being said, however, I feel that I need to add a little disclaimer of sorts. The medical issues that Edward faces appear to be written with little research to back them up. I understand that the way it unfolds is critical to her story line, and give her that creative license; I simply need to state that the way it unfolds is medically inaccurate.

In addition, the way she deals with Edward's deafness is quite different from my real life experiences with deaf individuals. Every one I've ever met has been fiercely independent about being deaf, and they tend not to view it as a disability. I liken it to the Mutants versus humans in X-Men: The Last Stand. A vaccine was developed to "cure" Mutants, making them human. Most Mutants contended that there was nothing to cure, just as most deaf people believe they do not have a disability. Again, this is The Romanticidal Edwardian's story, and she has the liberty to write it from any perspective she chooses. I was merely a little surprised that she chose to approach the story from this angle.

Overall, The Romanticidal Edwardian concocted an Edward who is lovely and sensitive, who pines for his best friend, and completely captures my heart. I love him, feel for him, and just want to wrap him up in a warm, motherly hug. She also succeeds in crafting a strong, independent, kick-ass Bella, a momma lion determined to protect her mate at all costs. Their absolute need for one another to be whole is beautiful and touching. Their relationship is the heart and soul of the story, and that's really all that matters, at the end of the day.

3 out of 5 Flashbacks

I have a soft spot for sensitive Edwards, never men in general, just Edward. I don't seek these types of stories out because they end up stomping on my wussperv heart in only a few amount of chapters.

This pretty much did it to :)

So, why do I have such a hankering to read sensitive, slightly awkward Edwards? Because it usually (hopefully) leads to a kick ass Bella. I'm tired of doormat female characters that are on the opposite end of spectrum when it comes to life experiences yadda, yadda. So for this Bella to be strong, confident, fiercely protective and asskicky (literally) I loved it from chapter 1.

The flashbacks themselves are what I think endears me so much to the story. Seeing how the little Bella first becomes friends with Edward in spite of his hearing loss. Each walk down memory lane builds such a beautiful love story that you can't help but swoon for the two of them.

The first 'I love you', Christ, the second one too was wonderful, saying her name! Jesus. The little kids playing with Carlisle (unf) with the Princess, the Prince and the big, bad dragon. My God, your heart aches with fear and hope that everything will be okay between them.

One of my favorite parts has to be when they're teens and finally figuring out that the other is attracted to them. For years they operated under the delusion that their feelings were all one-sided. Silly kids. In her 'karate' room while she's working out and poor teenage Edward has to watch her stretch and bend in front of him. Of course he gets so hard he can hammer a nail but she thinks he's bored. I don't know why but that scene cracks me up.

It's a sweet story, and it's around a long time. So long, that I ended up reading it again for this!

3/5 Flashbacks

My heart does the little sappy-clench when I read stories like this. Where there is a friendship between two people and it grows into something more. And I’m not talking they drunkenly sleep together and then decide ‘let’s try being a couple since the sex was good’ kind of thing. Yes, I’ve read stuff like that. And that shit never works out… at least not realistically. Too messy. Anyhoodles, maybe I’m more attached to the friendship to love stories because of personal experience, I don’t know; I just know I have a soft spot for them. They are swoon-worthy.

And while my heart does the sappy-clench, it also does the sad-clench. Like in chapter six when Edward breaks down and Bella comforts him:

My heart broke, and wrenched even harder this time, as I looked down at his sunken form. I dropped to my knees, and wrapped my arms around him, as he sobbed his frustrations out on my shoulder. I leaned on his shoulder as well, letting a few tears slip silently down my face. His pain was my pain, and it hurt so much right now.

But it was my turn to be strong. How often had he held me while I cried? Almost every time. So, for once, I comforted him as his tears fell, something I hadn't seen in many many years. I'd clean up his busted hand later. I knew right now he just needed someone who cared.

His arms wrapped around my waist and held me tightly against him as his sobs slowly faded, and he fell asleep against me.

Whoa! Of course I must mention the cheerleader in me that screamed when Bella stood up for herself and Edward. Stories with a strong Bella, a Bella with a backbone keep me interested and I’m happy that The Romanticidal Edwardian wrote this kind of Bella.

Guh! When you get to the ‘I love you’ moment… I have no words. Just smiles and swoons.

Stories that really explore the relationship of friendship to one of love will always be my favorite. I guess it’s because they are the ones that most people can imagine themselves in. I mean seriously, when will anyone really fall in love with a vampire and live forever with them? This? Now this is real; this is something that can and does happen and when it does, it’s one in a million.

3 out 5 Flashbacks


Chocolate Lover 82 said...

Your reviews are so accurate it's scary! I love this story, is beyond beautiful, I read it a while ago and could not stop reading it, you laugh, you cry, feel protective of the characters...everything.

There is even a sequel (How To Hear) that is on hiatus right now, that is beautiful as well, but in a very different way, developing their relationship in other aspects of real life.

Great stories that you can't miss.

Great reviews ladies

Jessedholm said...

Omg i loved this fic. It was a bit unrealistic medically speaking but i loved it anyway. They don't write them that good often. What's the story behind the sequel's hiatus? I'm scared to start reading it...

AJo said...

I loved this fic so much, I think I read it in one sitting. I'm super bummed about the sequel being on haitus, but I hope it'll come back soon!