Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: September 11th, 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Fantasy, Mythology
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.
So, where shall I begin? I’m so lucky that I don’t stumble upon books I dislike these days. Still, I’m hungry for that one particular book which will leave me hungover and squee-ing all day long. While I really liked Vessel, sadly it isn’s THE one.
As a fan of fantasy, I found Vessel to be a refreshingly delightful read. It’s not heavy on difficult terms and I’m sure you will find it easy to navigate through the world, even if you’re not too accustomed to the genre.
But as a fan of strong female protagonist, Liyana the protagonist has my respect. Liyana isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said. She has a backbone and keeps moving forward no matter how hard the situation is. She has a sense of responsibility — to her tribe especially — and her actions are just as courageous. Yeah, I can go on and on about all the things I love about her, but more importantly, I’d like to mention that she isn’t fixated on romance! (Don’t let the synopsis fool you guys!)
Vessel is a stand alone fantasy — a well-paced one at that. I enjoyed reading Liyana and Korbyn’s journey to gather the other vessels. I do think that the other vessels aren’t as fleshed out as they could have been though. A little more back stories could have made them more three-dimensional but alas, this is a stand alone and I suppose that Sarah Beth Durst did a pretty good job to at least write them as likable side characters.
The romance only serves as a side-plot and I really like how there wasn’t a single moment where the main character spends a whole paragraph to describe the love interest’s physical appearance. FINALLY. Actually, every one is only briefly described and for some reasons I’m quite fond of the vagueness. Some people might not agree with me though. But the most important thing is the relationship between Liyana and the love interest builds up naturally — they get closer as they try to get to know each other better and there’s nothing insta-love-ish about their relationship.
Another thing I found endearing is the folk tales told in-between to explain the cause of natural phenomena. It’s a simple thing but it livens up the world Liyana in, making it much easier to immerse readers in. I’m now blaming myself for forgetting to take notes or at least remember the page and now I’m simply too lazy to look for it haha. (I SWEAR I USED TO BE MORE DILIGENT.)
Anyway, Vessel is an easy-to-read yet thought-provoking fantasy. I’m surprised at how underrated this book actually is. Give this a chance, people.