Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst (3 stars)
Kel Thursday, June 05, 2014 reviewI've only read one of Durst's other books- Ice, a retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"- which I enjoyed, though the pregnancy was awkward. I really like her writing style, and overall I enjoyed Vessel. It's a survival story with a magical twist and an epic quest. Gather the guardians, rescue the gods, save the
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on September 11, 2012
Published by Margaret K. McElderry
Final Rating: 3 stars
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.
What I liked:
- On the whole, Liyana is a strong, practical protagonist I could root for. She's dedicated to her people and willing to sacrifice herself for them.
- Jidali, Liyana's little brother. We don't see much of him, but he is a cute little four-year-old.
- The setting. It's a desert, but a fantastical desert that tries to kill you with magical beasts along with the usual heat, dehydration, dearth of food and sandstorms.
- The other vessels. I wish I saw more of them because they are all such strong personalities. It breeds conflict and humor.
What I didn't like:
- The romance is probably the weakest aspect of the story for me. Liyana feels torn between her feelings for Korbyn and the knowledge that he loves her goddess, who will soon kick her out of her body and into death. Love triangle, but a doomed one, so no major worries. The problem starts with a case of Stockholm Syndrome/insta-love. And it continues when "doom" becomes optional. Luckily, the romance isn't in the spotlight 24/7 and moves to the background when appropriate.
- The ending. Too neat, too easy (thanks to an extra huge helping of "special-ness") and neither the "reveal" nor the "occupation" made sense. (Sorry for the odd wording. I'm trying hard to avoid spoilers.)
There was no awkward pregnancy, so yay! But the romance and ending disrupted what was otherwise a fun adventure story. Still, the writing is good, the characters are likable and I would recommend giving it a go, even if you, like I, are not a big romance fan.