Fantasy Review: ‘Vessel’ by Tominda Adkins

Vessel, Book I: The AdventThis book has been on my radar for quite a while, and I have no idea where I first saw it.  I have no history of reading self published works, but the premise of this one intrigued me enough take the plunge.  In this case the author has found a new fan.

Book one in a series(though fairly self-contained), this is a fairly unique take on vampires.  Told in first person, the main character Jordan is a personal assistant to the worlds biggest pop-star, Jesse Cannon.  Her life, and several others, is thrown into chaos when her boss learns in a very abrupt fashion that he is one of five men who make up the Vessel.  Details are fuzzy, but the Vessel is the worlds defense against Hollows(vampire like creatures that in essence are pure death).  The five strangers who make the vessel converge around the tour bus of Jesse, followed by hollows and a secret society.  From there the book has some pretty standard series set up tropes, coming into power, learning the back story, and meeting bigger and badder villains.

The books biggest strength is the conversational style of the narrator.  She is easy to read, sometimes witty, and a lot of fun  She is an easy character to like(although the same can be said about most the authors characters).  I was also impressed on how much back story was inserted without feeling like info dumps interrupted the flow.  I know a lot about the realities of this world, especially for such a short book.  Also, despite following some tropes to set up the series, the story line never feels trite.

There are some issues.  The most glaring is some awkward switching between first and third person, when the entire book is supposedly narrated by Jordan.  As Jordan is a mere mortal among demigods, she should not have a lot of the knowledge she passes along(such as the order of minor actions that take place when she is not around, and more importantly, what people are thinking).  There were a few editing problems, the most glaring being a section in which some piece of dialog is missing, because two characters jump to a conclusion that the conversation doesn’t even suggest.  That said, the author obviously had an army of proof-readers, as I was expecting more errors of this type in a self-published work, so color me impressed.

Pros: A very enjoyable narrator (when not jumping between first and third person), and fairly unique story, and quite a bit of wit.

Cons: The switching narrator thing was the most jolting.  At times it felt the author didn’t know if she was going for a humorous book with a serious plot, or a completely serious plot where the humor disappeared for stretches.

3.5 stars, and I will be on the list for the next one.

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