Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: McElderry Books (11th September 2012)
Source: Secret Santa
Format: Finished Hardback
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe’s deity, who will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the dessert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her goddess has not come. Her tribe is furious – and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the dessert. 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 stilling 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 so her tribe can live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate – or a human girl can muster up some magic of her own.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
This book was one of the ones I got from my Secret Santa this year. It was one of two books I named on my wish list, so I am very pleased to have got it. I heard of this book several months before its publication and loved the cover, then I read the blurb and I knew I had to get my hands on it. It sounded so different to the usual sword and sorcery fantasy.
Vessel was a joy to read from beginning to end. The couple of times I had to put the book down – to sleep and to eat – I fell straight back into the story, once I picked the book up again. It was a very comfortable read as I didn’t feel I HAD to know what happened next when I put the book down, I knew I would be back.
Vessel was a beautiful story. I enjoyed the fact that the story was set in a non-Western, non-white world – there was a definite Arabian feel to the characters and the setting. I really enjoyed reading Liyana and Korbyn’s adventures. I admired Liyana and her strength of character and the fact that she wasn’t selfish despite her circumstances.
In Vessel Sarah Beth Durst has created an interesting world, populated by brilliant characters – I liked the way she handled the different gods. My only, minor, complaint was that the explanation behind the events came out of the blue. As the story focuses mainly on Liyana this is understandable, but I would have liked a little bit more foreshadowing. Sarah Beth Durst did a brilliant job resolving the story, and to be honest I’m a little sad that Vessel seems to be a standalone.
If you like sword and sorcery fantasy, if you’re a fan of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe or of the Eona duology then you should seriously consider checking this book out. It is a great read.