“The Vessel” by Taylor Stevens is a novella that takes place between “The Doll” and “The Catch” following Vanessa Michael Munroe as she, once again, embarks on an insanely dangerous task. Munroe’s moral compass may be a bit skewed, but her mission in “The Vessel” is to use her talents to right a wrong, to stop a man that will only continue to cause pain on a massive scale. To do this, she turns to her well-honed talents.
“…surrounded by the poor and the struggling while phrases and tones and speech shifted form and made shapes inside her head, as they did now in the bar. As they had her entire life. Language had defined her, made her who she was. Language, the savant-like ability to find the pattern in foreign sound, was a poisonous gift that had been with her since childhood.” (The Vessel, loc. 63) I love the way that Stevens describes Munroe’s talents. From Munroe’s perspective, everything that makes her appealing to hire is a burden that she has to carry, that she has always had to carry. Her talents with language, her ability to shift into different environments, to become a different person, her instincts, her ability to survive – all of these things Munroe accepts as part of who she is, but she still views these as encumbrances.
One of the things that I like best about Munroe is that she is a badass that is capable and willing to take a life, but that she doesn’t do it lightly. When she kills, Munroe enjoys it in a primal way – but the non-animal part of her brain hates the fact that there is blood on her hands. The balance that she tries to maintain throughout the series is part of what makes her so compelling. “Like a modern-day Apostle Paul, she was made all things to all men. She was everyone and no one. She would find him, kill him, and he would never see her coming.” (The Vessel, loc 405).
Would I recommend this book? Yes, and not just to those already familiar with Munroe. The Vanessa Michael Munroe series is violent and not necessarily for everyone and “The Vessel” is a great way to get a taste of Taylor Steven’s writing. But in my opinion, these books are awesome so you’ll probably get addicted. Fair warning.