On April 18, 2112 the sun exploded in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen. They had nineteen minutes. Nineteen minutes until the geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, every satellite in their sky. Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun. Generations after solar storms have destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth and humans have reverted to a middle ages like existence, all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents and books are burned as heresy. Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs.
by Lisa T. Cresswell
May 26, 2015
Vessel is a science fiction/post-apocalyptic/dystopian set a couple hundred years in the future after a mega solar flare sends the world into a new dark age. The inhabitants have become fearful of technology and the knowledge that spawned it, believing that such things caused Mother Sun to destroy their ancestors. Alana, a slave girl, finds herself embroiled in a struggle against the Reticents, a group determined to enforce mass ignorance, after helping two captives who are destined for the flames of a Reticent Cleansing Ritual.
This is truly a well-crafted science fiction story, though at first, it may seem to be more of a post-apocalyptic instead. Let me assure you, it is science fiction. The first glimmer is the event, the solar flare that wiped out modern civilization in the year 2112. For much of the book, I thought that was the reason for the sci fi tag. I was wrong. That’s just the surface of the island, and the way the rest emerges is simply delightful. As soon as I thought I had this one pegged, it surprised me, and then it did it again. There is no way I’d have guessed how it turned out, but it totally followed the story.
I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this story, except to note that it took a while for the sci fi to kick in. Other than that, this story is very well written and edited. Also note that, as a slave girl, Alana is subject to the whims of her master, but it doesn’t go too much into detail beyond giving back story. Although I think this was intended as YA, I think the story falls under the realm of adult sci fi due to the political undertones and some of the more mature plot points, though that being said, I would have liked this story when I was a teen.
Overall, I loved this book. Vessel is a high quality offering that I believe will delight readers of sci fi, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian books. I think the book is well suited to older teens and adults, particularly those who like science fiction that shows a good understanding of the science brought into the story.
The review copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
About Lisa T. Cresswell