Book Review of Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Vessel

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: September 11th, 2012

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
Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be: breathtaking! I was absolutely absorbed in every aspect of this book. It felt more like an experience than just simply reading a book. The descriptions were so vivid and the characters were so interesting, it became easy to get swept up in this world and let everything around me just slip away.

In Vessel, we follow Liyana who was supposed to become the vessel for her goddess to inhabit and help her people, but her goddess never came. Her clan is forced to leave her to seek out help elsewhere and she is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life. Liyana went through an extreme journey both physically and emotionally. She had to grow up very quickly and went from being a trusted vessel, to being abandoned, to being an extremely strong girl that fought in the face of adversity instead of hiding from it. I admired her strength of heart and her determination to see her task through to the end to try and save her people.

Liyana’s hope comes in the form of Korbyn, the trickster god who claims to know where the missing gods and goddess are and with Liyana’s help claims he can save them. Korbyn remained a mystery for most of the book which is fitting since he is the trickster god. You are never quite sure what he is up to since he never really answers questions with a straight answer and does not reveal his true purpose for the journey he starts Liyana on. However, I found that he grew on me as the story progressed and I came to care for what happened to him by the end of the novel.

While the characters were fascinating and I highly enjoyed watching their journey, the stories laced throughout really stole the show. Sarah gives us the history of the gods and goddess and more information about each of the clans through stories and legends that they pass down through the generations. They were told in such detail and many resembled fables with lessons to be learned from them. They were a clever way for us to get to know our characters better and really become invested in the outcome of their lives.

While the book is a little over four hundred pages, I never became bored or found the story dragging. There was always something happening to move the plot forward and the mystery of the location of the missing gods and goddesses was an enigma I was eager to see solved. Liyana also brought forth interesting questions along the way to locating her gods and goddess. Is blind devotion the right choice? Why can you not questions the gods you serve? She began to stand on her own two feet and question her traditions and what was really the right path for her people. It was interesting watching her choose her own path in life, not the one that was initially chosen for her. Liyana faced adversity at every turn, but she persevered and accompanying her on her quest was magical.

Overall, I cannot say enough good things about Vessel. It is an epic fantasy that reminds me of why I adore this genre and Sarah. She has created a stunning world filled with an intriguing mythology, vibrant characters and a story that will grab hold of you immediately and not let go. Sarah continues to amaze me with ability write books that keep me fully engrossed and stay with me long after I have read the final page. Vessel is a superior addition to the young adult community and I highly recommend checking it out if you have not already done so.

FTC: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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