A dark, epic fantasy about a girl who must rethink everything she believes after she is betrayed and hunted by the religion that raised her—from Megan Bannen, author of The Bird and the Blade. Perfect for fans of The Winner’s Curse and The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
Gelya is a Vessel, a girl who channels the word of the One True God through song. Cloistered with the other Vessels of her faith, she believes—as all Ovinists do—that a saint imprisoned Elath the Great Demon centuries ago, saving humanity from earthly temptation.
When Gelya stumbles into a deadly cover-up by the Ovinists’ military, she reluctantly teams up with Tavik, an enemy soldier, to survive. Tavik believes that Elath is actually a mother goddess who must be set free, but while he succeeds in opening Her prison, he inadvertently turns Gelya into Elath’s unwilling human vessel.
Now the church that raised Gelya considers her a threat. In a race against the clock, she and Tavik must find a way to exorcise Elath’s presence from her body. But will this release stop the countdown to the end of the world, or will it be the cause of the earth’s destruction?
And as Tavik and Gelya grow closer, another question lingers between them: What will become of Gelya?
Ten years ago, the Order of Saint Ovin took Gelya from her "uncivilized" home and delivered her to the Saint Vinnica convent for indoctrination into patriarchal Ovinism. Now, the pale, freckled teen sings the One True God's word to the masses. Gelya believes that she's on the side of good, until she sees an Ovinist knight orchestrate a massacre to contain a heretical secret: the spirit of Ovinism's devil figure, Elath, is imprisoned on convent grounds. Gelya escapes the carnage thanks to brown-skinned enemy soldier Tavik, whose people believe that Elath is actually their mother goddess. When Tavik's attempt to liberate Elath results in the entity possessing Gelya, the pair runs, hoping to evade capture long enough to return Elath to her own body an act which Tavik asserts will heal the world, but Ovinists claim will end it. After a worldbuilding-heavy start, Bannen (The Bird and the Blade) hurls readers headlong into a harrowing yet ultimately hopeful fantasy rife with action and intrigue. The duo's witty banter and burgeoning romance temper the tale's weightier moments, which include ruminations on religion, doubt, and bodily autonomy. Ages 13 up. \n