Friday, September 21, 2012

Becky's View: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
♦publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
♦release date: September 11, 2012
♦hardcover, 424 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.  Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Review: Vessel is the first book that I've read by author Sarah Beth Durst, but it definitely won't be the last.  In Vessel, you get a magical, sweeping fantasy adventure that stretches the imagination and gives you a full and satifying story all in one volume. Yes, my friends,...this is a stand-alone, rare as they seem to be these days in the YA fantasy genre! It was something of a wonder to see a story progress and build, hit its exciting climax,  and completely wrap up by the last page.

Set in a stark and unforgiving desert world, Vessel introduces us to Liyana just as she is suppose to die---she is the chosen one of her tribe to give up her body so that their goddess can inhabit it and use her powers to sustain the tribe's way of life.  It really is a unique and facinating concept.  I loved the descriptions of the ceremony, the dance, her elaborate ceremonial costume, and the process of Liyana saying goodbye to her family and people.  She was a fireball of a character all the way through---super smart, resourceful, and determined.  Once she is abandoned to the desert, and Korbyn comes on the scene, things get even more interesting.  He is such a fun character to read, as the trickster god---so funny and with a great wit, but also a great stroke of depth as he struggles with trying to rescue the other gods when no one will trust his word because his reputation as a trickster always precedes him.  Another character that I loved was Raan---she presented such an important opposing side of the role of the Vessels.

The love story was a bit tricky in this one! I can't say too much without giving anything away, but I will say it was one of the most unusual takes on a love triangle I have ever come across! I don't think there's ever been a dilemma quite like it before! It was heart-wrenching and complicated, and I love how it worked out in the end.

The first 150 pages or so, when they are wandering the desert looking for the other vessels, did seem a little long-winded at times, dragging the pace just a bit.  Also, every several chapters we get a POV switch to an emperor that for awhile into the story, it kind of remains a mystery what the significance of his involvement is and that got a bit frustrating.  BUT once all the vessels were found and the emperor's part in the story is revealed, the intensity of the story really kicks into gear and Vessel becomes a fast-paced heroic tale of magic and myth, war and bravery, and what lengths one will go to save the people they care about---from many different perspectives.  Durst has given us an incredible imaginative tale, building a rich world of myth and legend, with terrifying dangers that range from simply dying of thirst to fighting off sky serpents and sand worms.

Definitely one to pick up if you have a craving for an epic fantasy adventure!

Visit Sarah Beth Durst: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Vessel at:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. Thanks for the review. Your review about the love story made me want to read this more. It made me curious.


  2. I've been seeing this one more and more this week. I love the cover and it sounds good!

  3. I adored her book ice so I'm really, really looking forward getting my hands on this one. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Yeses! I'm so glad this one doesn't disappoint! Vessel was the first of Sarah's books that really caught my eye and I'm so excited to read it! x] The first 150 pages of them traveling might drag for me too, but I'm glad to hear it picks up.
    Great review ^__^

  5. Great review! I've been wanting to get this book. Hope I get it soon. =)

  6. This is the first review of it I got to read and I am so excited to read you loved it. Ice is a favorite novel of mine, and "a magical, sweeping fantasy adventure that stretches the imagination" is exactly how I would describe it. Can't wait to read this one too. Great review!