Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst
Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst
Release date: September 11th 2012
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
After reading Drink, Slay, Love a couple of months ago, I fell in love with Sarah Beth Durst's writing style. I just recently found out about Vessel, and didn't hesitate to buy a copy and dig into it. Thankfully, this novel lived up to its beautiful prose and cover. Although it wasn't perfect, it was good enough to make me love it, just like I ended up loving Drink, Slay, Love.
Lyiana, our main character, is Bayla's goddess - meaning her entire life is dedicated to this role, and her duty is to die, so her goddess can help her tribe. Through the narration, we get a very clear picture of how Lyiana feels about all of this: acceptance, because she wants to save her tribe from starving to death; and reluctance, because she wants to live. This balance was enough to make me sympathize with her (after all, nobody wants to be a sacrifice).
However, after the ritual to bring Bayla into this world fails, Lyiana is abandoned by her tribe, and a boy - a god - finds her in the desert, claiming that her goddess had been kidnapped. From that point on, I was hooked. Korbyn is a fascinating character, and I loved his interactions with Lyiana. Despite the fact that, you know, he's a god, I connected a lot with him. Lyiana and Korbyn's "adventure" to find the other vessels so they can rescue the gods is really engaging.
I really enjoyed the mythology behind everything, as well. The Gods, the way they inhabit their vessels so they can help their respective tribes... the magical beings... it's really interesting, and though the author doesn't really go deep into it, she gives us enough background to understand how everything works. The moral dilemma behind the use of vessels wasn't developed as much as I would've liked, but it's fine. It's not like this particular aspect of the story ruined everything else for me.
Overall, Vessel is a good read if you're looking for an interesting fantasy novel. It has realistic characters, amazing writing style, and a very, very unexpected ending (at least for me ^^).