Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Release Date: September 11, 2012 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry 
Source: Publisher for Review
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.
Having read and loved all of Sarah Beth Durst’s books, I can safely say that this was my most anticipated novel of hers. I didn’t read it for the longest time because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Yet all of the positive reviews seemed to be mocking me so I caved in and read Vessel. Vessel is by far Sarah Beth Durst’s best novel to date. It’s intriguing, beautiful, the setting is amazing and the characters endearing. The romance (much to this die-hard romantic’s pleasure) was slow building yet wonderful. While I was a little upset about some aspect of this novel, Vessel was on of the best books I read in 2012. I am desperately hoping for a sequel that will probably never come to be.

Lets talk about Liyana, our protagonist, who was fantastic. While the world itself was fictional (I mean, vessel for Gods?), Liyana felt like such a real girl. While none of my friends are vessels, I felt like Liyana could have easily been one of my friends. She’s strong and independent but she’s flawed too. She never calls herself a completely strong person and it seemed that Liyana’s flaws made her even more determined to find her Goddess. Her voice fit the story and world perfectly but it was also unique. Reading the book will make the reader appreciate her determination and wonderful personality.

The plot itself was pretty great. While I guessed some minor aspects, the larger aspects remained a mystery and I appreciated that. Sarah Beth Durst had great control over the plot and she only revealed little bits of importation, enough to satisfy the readers yet enough to make the curious. I have to say, the world reminded me a lot of Northeast Africa/Middle East, which was refreshing; it’s not something I see often in YA. The mythology and clans were all explained in enough details for me to understand what was happening but not too much where I might be bored. While I personally wish more had been explained, I know that it would not have suited the story.

The only real complaint I had was that the romance didn’t go as planned. While I liked the guy she ended up with well enough, I didn’t think their relationship was developed enough. Mind you it wasn’t insta love but I wanted a little more development. Overall, Vessel was such a great read that I finished it in two hours. The pages flew by because the plot was fast enough for me to not get bored but slow enough for Liyana (and the other characters) to be well developed. Sarah Beth Durst’s writing gets better and better and I can’t wait to see what she has next!
Cover Comments: 
First thought: Holy wow. It's gorgeous! I WANT THIS NOW! I don't even care what it's about!
Comments: So, basically, when I first saw this cover, I fell in love. Not only is there a POC on the cover but it's just so beautiful! The smoke and the moon and the pose for the model! It's just wonderful! 
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