Category Archives: Young Adult Fantasy

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.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Conjure by Lea Nolan

Thanks to Entangled Publishing I am able to share a pretty sweet cover with you today. The book is Conjure by Lea Nolan! Check it out:

So what do you think of the cover? I personally think it looks amazing! I love the eerie feeling that the trees send out and the sparks that float across the give it a magical feel. I also have the summary of the book to share with you.

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

Summary provided by publisher

So what do you think? I am pretty excited about it! The book releases September 24th, 2012 and you can find out more about the book and the author at the links below.

CONJURE on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13425130-conjure

Lea’s website: http://www.leanolan.com/

Lea on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lea_Nolan

Lea also has a giveaway going on in conjunction with the cover reveal. You can find out more about that by following the link below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review of Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Destined

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Release Date: May 1st, 2012

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and she is working with Klea to conquer and destroy Avalon. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares for a fight she never thought she would have to face.

Filled with heart-pounding action, sweeping romance, and higher stakes at every turn, Destined is the series conclusion that readers have been clamoring for—with a twist that will leave them breathless.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: If you have not read Wings (review here), Spells (review here) or Illusions (review here) this may contain spoilers.

Wow, we have been on quite a journey with Laurel and starting the last book was a bittersweet experience for me. I have to admit that I was not blown away with the last book, Illusions. I enjoyed it, but it did not love it. In the dedication of Destined Aprilynne talks about wanting to finish strong and thankfully that is exactly what she did. This final installment is by far my favorite in the series and I was so happy Aprilynne was able to finish out on a high note.

The ending of Illusions left us with quite a cliffhanger. We pick up with Laruel, Tamani, Chelsea and David right where we left them, guarding Yuki. We discovered that Yuki is a winter faerie working with Klea. Their end goal is the destruction of Avalon. Since the pair is looking to take over Avalon a battle that lasts for almost the entirety of the book ensues, making it nearly impossible to walk away from this story. So many lives are lost, many of them being characters we have come to love. It was tough to watch Laruel lose people she cares about, but unfortunately when there is a war lives are lost. Aprilynne does do a nice job of setting the scene for the battles and they were exciting to read. They take place all over Avalon and I was thrilled to see more of this mystical world, even if it was under such tragic circumstances. Avalon fascinates me and I always enjoy the story taking us there to explore it.

The love triangle is still going strong in Destined, but it becomes very clear as the book progresses that Laurel has made her decision. I cannot say whether I was happy or not about it, because I have been very vocal about being team Tamani, so any opinion I give on that will be a giveaway. I can tell you that while Laruel is struggling with her decision, it does take more of a back seat in this book due to the constant battle. I thought it was going to bother me, but I enjoyed all the action and events that were constantly moving the plot forward. It also made the private moments that Laruel got with the guys more precious.

In Illusions, Aprilynne gave us the opportunity to see inside Tamani’s head and was happy to see that occur again in Destined. He tries very hard to keep his emotions in check and because of this we do not always know what he is thinking. Thankfully, he gets quite a few chapters all to himself in this book and I relished being in his head again. Especially since there are quite a few events in Destined that rocked him to his core. He has quite a bit to deal with and if we did not get his point of view it would take away some of the substance of the story. His actions and thoughts add so much to the plot, keeping it intriguing and connecting us to him emotionally.

Chelsea and David also play vital roles in this book, David’s was especially interesting. I cannot say what it is, but wow, did not see that coming at all. Aprilynne ties in some familiar mythology that fits well into the world of Avalon. I was intrigued to see how it played out and how David would handle the repercussions of his decisions. It was an interesting twist that was incorporated into this world seamlessly and had me looking at David a little differently as well. It made me think “Maybe he can be good for Laruel and fit in her world.”

Overall, I think this series hit a bump in the middle with Spells, but Illiusions brought it back a little and Destined finished it out with a bang. I am so happy I stuck with this series to the end and reached the conclusion of Laurel’s story. I will forewarn you though, the book ends and then Aprilynne has an extra chapter. It was a very bittersweet read, but one that brought us into the future giving us an update on certain character’s lives. She does warn you that you might not be happy with it, but I had to know. I am not sure what Aprilynne has in store for us in the future, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for her books. If you have started this series at all, then you need to read Destined, it brings everything together and is a fantastic finale to this magical tale.