Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst
September 11th, 2012
424 pages (Hardcover)
Margaret K. McElderry
POV: 3rd person
Source: Author/Publisher
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.
Gods and goddesses, deserts and droughts, fate and freedom....Sarah Beth Durst's newest novel has it all, and then some. Easily one of the best stories I've read all year, VESSEL is a highly creative, richly cultured, and wonderfully executed fantasy novel that sweeps across the harsh desert lands as one extraordinary young woman tries to save her people. Liyana, destined to give up her body to her goddess Bayla, is determined to find her missing goddess and unwilling to yield or give up without a fight.

Despite how very journey-orientated this story is – since Liyana and Korbyn1 are wandering the desert as they look for the other vessels and the missing gods and goddesses – Durst throws in quite a few surprises along the way to keep a reader hooked and guessing about the final outcome. The pacing picks up and slows down repeatedly, and kept me completely entranced by this story from start to finish. If you're a fan of fantasy stories rich in culture, amusing characters, and brimming with unpredictability, then VESSEL should be the next novel on your To-Read list. 

Highlights: The worldbuilding, characters, story...everything is exceptional in VESSEL. Durst takes her characters in different directions than expected. Liyana's family rocked. Liyana is an excellent and humorous protagonist that's easy to like. I loved seeing the other clans and their vessels. The sporadic second narration kept me curious in the beginning and it was interesting to see how it all tied together with Liyana. 

Lowlights: I was a bit sad about the way the story ended (especially romantically, it didn't work out the way I hoped it would), but it was the best possible ending for the story. It's too bad this book is a standalone, because I really wish there were more books! 


1 Who doesn't love a trickster god? *swoons*

My Reviews Of Other Works By This Author


  1. O so glad to hear it lives up to that amazingly fierce cover. I need both these books.

    1. It really is a fantastic story (and the cover is a wonderful representation of Liyana, too). You should check out some of Durst's books! They're always fun to read :)

  2. One of the best you've read this year? MUST READ IT LEA!!! I'm a little nervous about the romance not ending the way you wanted it to, but other than that, it sounds absolutely brilliant. It was already on my list to pick up, but has no moved way closer to the top after this review!

    1. Yup, one of the best books I've read all year! An excellent fantasy novel with equally wonderful characters and world building - what's not to love? And while I was a bit upset with how the romance turned out, the book was still incredible.

      Hope you enjoy VESSEL when you get a chance to read it!

  3. This was my first novel by Durst and I really enjoyed it! Fantastic storytelling and the love story was definitely an unusual spin on a love triangle! Great review! I'm glad to hear you loved it, too!

  4. Love the sound of Vessel! Never heard of it before, thanks for sharing :)

  5. Oh, man, now I feel like grabbing it off my shelves and reading it ASAP! You gave it high praise! While I would want the romance to work out in a certain way, I am open to different endings so I can't wait for this one!

  6. Woohoo!! This sounds awesome, awesome, awesome. SO happy you loved this one, Lea! Can't wait to check it out myself! I'm sure I'll love it if you say that every aspect was well done!