Author: Lisa T. Cresswell
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia
Pages: 221, Kindle Edition
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
My Rating: ★★★★½
The sun exploded on April 18, 2112. It 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.
Vessel takes place about 200 years in the future after a solar storm wipes out civilization and machines. Leaving the survivors with no electronics or technology instead reverting back to a middle ages like existence that could be barbaric at times. They worship what they call “Mother Sun” and have been taught to fear Mother Sun and be cautious not to invoke her wrath. Reading and inventing is considered heresy and heretics are executed. 17 year old Alana is a slave with no friends or loved ones to rely on. It has always been her, her Master and his wives; none of which have any concern for her and only use her for their interests. That is until Recks the prisoner comes along and changes everything. Recks helps her breakaway from her hellish life and together they search for something new, something pure. Along the way they uncover secrets; secrets they never intended to uncover. The Reticents have been hiding information and brainwashing everyone. Will the world be able to move on or will it stand in wait of another disaster?
Okay, so let’s talk about the plot first. The plot was amazing, gripping and one of a kind. The world building was exquisite and detailed, kudos to Cresswell for that! The pacing throughout the book was consistent, not too slow; not too fast. So clearly I had no problem there.
Now for the characters; I fell in love with the main characters! I fell in love with the way they fell in love… I just fell… Alana the protagonist was really different from your typical YA heroine. She had this scar on one half of her face (the reason she got it was insane) but she never dwelled on it or thought about how “ugly” she looked because of it. And because of her scar she had to cover up her face at all times. Her life was what you would call “hell on earth” but she never complained or whine. Her life was nothing short of hell and I am not exaggerating. Her mom sold her to a slaver when she was 2, the slaver then sold her to a cruel guy and she lived with him until she was seventeen. In that many years he had done nothing but abuse her in more ways than one; he had his wives but still wasn’t content and had to have his own way with her, if you get what I mean. And not only did she have to endure him, she had to endure his wife, Shel, too. Shel knew how merciless her husband was and instead of helping Alana, she was against her. Why? Because she felt like her husband was spending more time with Alana than her. But that was time spent that Alana didn’t want at all! I mean if Shel was that desperate to be abused, then go ahead and march right up, but her abusing Alana in return was totally despicable. Whatever happened to “girl power”?
I just felt so sorry for Alana, her life was truly saddening and infuriating at the same time. It was just horrible how they treated her as nothing more than a slave and like she didn’t deserve respect or too even be called by her name, her “Master” called her “chit” and she had to call him “Master”. And not only did she have one master.. Oh no no no… that would make her life too easy. Her Master occasionally lent her out to other guys to “use”. Hello?? She is not a doormat and in this case sharing is definitely not caring. The worst part is that this is an actual problem people from certain places face in reality. And no matter how advanced technology gets it will never overshadow how sick and vile this kind of behavior towards people is. I have the utmost respect for Lisa T. Cresswell for broaching this subject which a lot of YA authors tend to shy away from. Back to Alana, it amazed me how she was able to keep holding on to life after everything she went through. She was just so strong and determined. When things got bad she would retreat to her hiding place inside but she never gave up. After everything she was still so kind and compassionate and never took out her anger on other people.
Now for Recks. Recks was my favorite character in the book for so many reasons. Mainly because of the way he treated Alana; even in the beginning when he barely knew her he was so nice to her. It was just simple things he said but it was so sincere that it really got to Alana, it got to me. After so many years of being told what to do and having no choice but to do it or face punishment, to have Recks come along and not demand anything or force her into anything was really refreshing. Recks was so sincere, patient and sweet, he made it so hard not to fall for him.
“I’ll never make you do something you don’t want to. Remember that,” he said. I nodded. “But you have to speak up. Tell me what you’re thinking. All right?” “I’ll try.”
He was just so understanding and his concern for her was so real.
“See this? How beautiful the stone is? That’s only because the craftsman looked inside an ordinary rock to find it. The outside means nothing.” He slipped the ring on my finger and tangled his fingers with mine, kissing my face.
Did I mention he had a way with words? Yup, the guy’s a teller of stories and a singer of songs among other things. * swoon *
I’ll have to be honest here, when I first started this book I wasn’t expecting a love story that would touch me so deeply. But it did, the love story crawled its way into my heart. For one, it wasn’t insta-love. Also, unlike many YA books out there, Alana and Recks didn’t fall in love which each other’s looks, wealth or status, instead they fell in love with each other’s hearts and words. Always looking out for one another, together they were stronger and perfect for each other.
My only problem was the ending; I suppose it was bittersweet but it was so SAD. I was practically clawing my face off and making noises no human should be making. It took a toll on me and I am still not functioning straight, hours after reading it.
So, yes, you are going to need tissues when you read this book. And no, I am still not over the ending. 😥 In a time like this where dystopia is so popular it may come as a surprise that I am not a huge fan of this genre, but Vessel has changed everything for me. So, go ad read this book, now! If you’re a fan of dystopia, even if you’re not you have to read this because Vessel is not your typical dystopian novel.
That’s it, everyone. I really look forward to reading more of Cresswells’ works. Have you read Vessel? Please tell me somebody has read it ’cause I really need to talk about the ending without having to worry about spoiling it for anyone! So, please if you’ve read it, tell me did the ending effect you like it did me? For those of you who haven’t read it, are you interested in reading it now? Chat with me in the comments about the book, review, anything and everything! Have a bookish day and happy reading. Hugs! ❤