Monday, April 15, 2019

REVIEW: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst


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 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've been reading books lately that I added to my TBR in 2012 and so far I have been unimpressed by these books. I was starting to worry that my taste in books has changed drastically. This book reminded me that there are some books I liked to read then and would still enjoy now. 

Liyanna is meant to be a vessel for a goddess and she has dedicated her whole life in order to be the perfect vessel. The day has come for the goddess to take over her body. Liyanna will die, but the goddess will save her people from the drought with her magic, so Liyanna sees it as a worthy sacrifice. Except, when Liyanna performs the ritual, the goddess does not come. Thinking that Liyanna has been declared unworthy, her people abandon her in the desert and search for another vessel to save them from the drought. Liyanna does not think she will survive alone in the desert, but a young man finds her. The young man is the god Korbyn, walking the desert in his vessel. He tells her that someone has been stealing the souls of the gods and her goddess has not abandoned her. She must help him find the other vessels and find the souls of the gods before it is too late.

The worldbuilding in this book was fantastic. This book has magic and mythology in a fantasy world, but there is such a real quality to this world. The gods and goddesses are as real as the desert sand in this world and I loved how this book showed the characters' mythology as a part of their world and something that could not be separated. I love fantasy books but one of the struggles I have with fantasy books is that sometimes they all feel the same. This book was refreshing because it has a very different setting than the typical YA fantasy novels, a different tone, and the overall premise was unique to this world.

Liyanna struggles a lot throughout this book. She has been raised that she is going to die on this specific day and when she doesn't, she has no clue what to do. Now she also has to deal with conflicting emotions because she wants to live, but if she lives, her people might not get the help they need. The world she lives in gives great power to the gods and goddesses, but what is significant about Liyanna is that she shows that she could be strong as herself. She is extraordinary brave in multiple circumstances and as she meets the other vessels, she continues to realize her own strength and the strength of the other vessels. I loved how this book showed the strength of an ordinary human and how much growth she had as a character.

There is very light romance in this book. Liyanna feels attraction for Korbyn, but it partially because Liyanna is the vessel for Korbyn's lover. This is not a major part of the book and Liyanna feels conflicted about pursuing him. I really did not want them to get together because it was extraordinarily awkward to think about. She does eventually find someone else. It was fairly quick, which threw me for a loop, but I appreciated the fact that this book focused more on the main plot and Liyanna's character rather than a romance. 

Overall, I really liked this book and was very impressed by the premise and worldbuilding. I had difficulty putting this one down, but as the book got closer to the end some elements felt more sped up than I expected. This is my favorite book I've read from Durst so far, but there are many others (some I already own) that I need to read and I look forward to reading them! (less)

I hereby give this book

4 Stars!

Meaning: I really liked this book!

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