Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Soulswift by Megan Bannen
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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?
Well, Megan Bannen did it again. She destroyed me.
Soulswift is a book about belief, introspection, growth, love, and it absolutely broke my heart in the best way. Bannen has this wonderful ability to bring you on a journey right alongside her characters and then ripping out your heart. And then you thank her for it haha.
Admittedly it did take me a number of chapters to fully get invested in the story whilst we learned a bit about Gelya’s past and her current situation but once she and Tavik were together on page, I was fully in. I enjoyed their language barrier and how real it felt, their banter was great, the discussions they had about their respective faiths were honest and lovely to see.
The first person narrative was a little jarring for me (as it isn’t my favourite narrative) but gradually it made sense to have been written in this way. I don’t think I fully appreciated it though until the very end. It was nice, however, to really see into Gelya’s thoughts and her questioning everything she had known. I liked that she was questioning things even before meeting Tavik as it made her character seem more realistic. Although, there were times when her inner thoughts were a bit repetitive and almost like she was trying to convince herself that something wasn’t obvious even though it was.
The differences between the two faiths were also a little hard to wrap my head around. It was confusing at times trying to keep their respective stories straight since they were so similar but I ended up just focusing on the biggest and most important aspect. Ovinists believe if Elath is free, the world will essentially end while the other side believes the world will not thrive until she is free. I appreciate the thought that Bannen put into the story behind each faith though.
Overall this story is certainly one that will stick with me and there is a lot about it that I appreciated and enjoyed. I definitely recommend it!