- File Size: 8497 KB
- Print Length: 276 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press (September 12, 2017)
- Publication Date: September 12, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075H3YBFN
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,809 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Vessel of Ra (The Klaereon Scroll Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 276 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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The Vessel of Ra is a solid read. Every minute of the story is packed with action, mystery and layers of secrets. Lucy and Octavia’s family, the Klareons, has a unique bond with the demons whose origins are rooted in Egyptian mythology. As Lucy learns through her adventures in Venice, she and her sister have not been told everything about the deal her ancestor made to control the demons. As Lucy learns the truth, she becomes even more determined to fix things leading to a shocking turn in the story which was upsetting for this reader. View Spoiler »
Then there is Carlo whose last name may sound super familiar to history buffs—Borgia. Carlo’s family also has some secrets and Carlo has been kept in the dark by his mother and his grandfather. Carlo finds Lucy’s cause noble and he quickly becomes her champion even though he doesn’t fully understand the fight. In fact, the secrets kept by both families play a pivotal role in the action of the story as once Carlo and Lucy meet, their fates are tied together as they race against the clock and towards Lucy’s inevitable trial with Ra.
All of the characters absolutely shine and are unique. Schaff-Stump does an excellent job describing the characters in way that doesn’t bog down the story. It is easy to visualize everyone in story including the fantastical creatures like Ra, Isis and Thoth. The strong descriptions extend to locations the story takes place—occupied Venice—Carlo’s hometown, the Underworld (which reminded me of scenes from the movie What Dreams May Come) and England—the location Lucy and Octavia’s magical estate. In fact, bits of Venice’s history were hinted at enough (Venice was occupied by Austria?!) that I was curious to know more, but with so much going on in the story already, there’s no way the author could have included more especially when the politics of Venice at the time the story was set didn’t directly influence the issues the characters were encountering.
The only downside of the book is there is a lot of setup. While the layers of secrets and how they intertwine and intersect do drive the story forward as the characters uncover the lies and half-truths, the full truth is never revealed. The reader just encounters more secrets and more people (or demons) unwilling to reveal what they are truly after. This becomes a bit wearisome by the end of the novel. However, I don’t believe it would prevent me from reading the next book in the series. I have a feeling this is a long play and patience will be required as the series progresses. After all the Klareons and Borgias have been working in the shadows and keeping secrets for centuries. Who am I, a simple reader just entering their saga, for expecting that to come unraveled in just one book?
The sub-genre of fantastic historical fiction is relatively new to contemporary readers. I suspect the author will make a name for herself as one of the pioneers of the form. The closest analogy I can think of for the overall "feel" of this novel is Mary Robinette Kowal's "Shades of Milk and Honey" novel.
"Vessel of Ra" features several unique elements which drew me into the work quickly:
- an interesting YA vibe and narrative structure
- raising of stakes quickly and unapologetically
- a physically challenged protagonist (no spoilers here - sorry!)
- rich and subtle narrative elements which kept me furiously flipping pages
One of the other elements which I enjoyed tremendously was the sense of sibling rivalry taken to absurd yet perfectly natural Victorian extremes. The interplay between Lucy and her sister, Octavia, was simply mesmerizing.
The author also spares no effort in creating vivid and vibrant secondary characters. Each person on the page has their own motives, own flaws and virtues which come into play during the course of the work.
Another element of this novel which truly impressed me was the sheer amount of research which must have been done to make details and plot so authentic. There were innumerable places in the novel in which the author might have cut corners or taken a less genuine method of getting from plot point A to B - yet it is all there in its glory.
The peril and sense of personal relationships is complex and deviously layered into plot after plot - but by this point I was completely invested in each of the characters I enjoyed - and hoping the "bad guys" would fail.
Just a very complex, nuanced and RICHLY rewarding read.
I look forward to other works in the series.
This was an interesting book with a good blend of historical and fantasy elements. I liked the setting in Venice and also the inclusion of the last remnants of the Borgia family as magicians. The blending of Egyptian gods with Christian mythology and demons was also somewhat of a new take on blending mythologies. Lucy was really great as well, and I don't think I've ever actually read a book like this where the main character is a dwarf. It added a new layer to the story where she had to fight against people's prejudice against her, even though she was actually the strongest magician there and they just couldn't see past her appearance.
My big complaint is that although there is a reason that this particular family ended up with this scroll where they are connected with these gods/demons, it's still basically a story about white British people controlling Egyptian gods and I think it would have been so easy to make the family Egyptian instead. Considering the history between those two countries in particular it was just something that stuck out like a sore thumb to me.
Most recent customer reviews
As an avid fan of Egyptology, I enjoyed the Egyptian theme of this novel and the innovative way Schaff-Stump...Read more