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15 June 2014

Taylor Stevens: The Vessel

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The Doll - the missing link
Vanessa "Michael" Munroe is one of the most complex, violent but compelling characters in modern adrenaline-filled action packed adventure fiction. In this novella Taylor Stevens gives those who have never experienced Michael the chance to see her in action. It also allows Stevens to fill in an unfinished link at the end of THE DOLL about how Michael had taken her revenge on the "man with the dog".

In her early life in east Africa, Vanessa "Michael" Munroe experienced extreme violence which has left her with demons but with violent survival skills second to none. She is a polyglot who speaks many languages and quickly picks up others. Michael is tall and slim and can become androgynous, changing her sex to survive in different environments, especially where females are treated as second class citizens.

This novella gives you a great introduction to this complex character and a preview of THE CATCH. I have read and really enjoyed an advanced copy of that book and highly recommend it, especially as it shows a more vulnerable Michael, operating again in third world countries in Africa.

The novella includes a conversation with the author which tells a lot more about the formation of the character and suggests to newcomers that they read the novella, then THE CATCH and then go back and read the rest in order. It also tells you more about how the author grew up as child labour in a cult commune, was made to beg in the streets and her education was limited. Her success in escaping that background and becoming a successful published author is especially praiseworthy.

I have read a lot of unsatisfying novellas that have been written just to promote an upcoming book. This one is different because it is so well written and gives new readers an introduction to the series and old readers some information that was deliberately missed from the previous book.

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