Vessel – Book Review
Sarah Beth Durst
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a Goddess. She will dance and summon her tribes deity, who will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious – and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her 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. 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…
I had never heard of Sarah Beth Durst before and knew nothing of her books. Yet when someone recommended this story to me, I knew instantly she was an author I needed to check out. Being a big fan of fantasy, I enjoyed all the magical elements hidden within the pages and found the story to be both different and ultimately gripping. A really, really great read.
When Liyana steps into the sacred circle, she knows she will not walk out of it alive. She has had sixteen years to come to terms with her fate, and although fear lurks in her heart she is determined to carry out her destiny. If it means the survival of her people, she will gladly give up her soul so that the Goddess may inhabit her body and bring life and prosperity to her village. Yet when the music stops, Liyana finds her destiny has changed. She is still alive. Her Goddess never came. And now her people will die.
In an angry mob her village turns on her, leaving her alone in the desert, to perish under the scorching sun. Accepting that perhaps death is, after all, to be her fate, Liyana is surprised when from the vast dunes of sand a boy emerges. Claiming to be Korbyn, the notorious trickster God, he explains how the Gods and Goddesses of the desert have been captured. Now together they must set out on a mission to free the trapped deities and rescue the other Vessels before its too late… but just how much can a trickster God be trusted…?
I really adored this book. I thought that the concept for the story was simply stunning and I love the world Sarah Beth Durst has created. A universe of sand and desolation, where life and death is ruled by the magic of the Gods, it is a place where no one can be trusted and each tribe is only looking out for themselves.
Furthermore the sand wolves and glass dragons particularly captured my imagination, yet despite the fantastical elements the magic came with rules and limitations, all of which combined together to make a very real and intriguing read.
The story is told mostly through Liyana’s eyes, and she was a refreshingly strong character from the start. Smart and intuitive, she trusts her instincts and each new trial and danger only makes her stronger.
The one part of the book I disliked however was the romance that kindled between her and another character – for while I understood the reasoning behind it I thought it made Liyana seem very fickle in her feelings, for while I wouldn’t say there was a love triangle there was change of heart that I couldn’t relate to in anyway. And while it served to make the story unpredictable, I still couldn’t help but be disappointed when the two characters I wanted to be together parted ways.
Yet the romance aside, I really loved everything else about this book. The plot moved at a fast pace, each of the secondary characters was unique and charming – especially the other Gods who where rather selfish and childish in comparison to their human vessels. And to top it all off, I liked that it was hard to read peoples agendas which kept the plot a mystery and me turning the pages.
So overall, a four star read! VESSEL is great YA fantasy and one that I would recommend to any Tamora Pierce or Maria V Snyder fans, and I can’t wait to check out more books by Sarah Beth Durst. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know! This is definitely a book for the keep shelf J