Published by Margaret K. McElderry on September 11th, 2012
Genres: fantasy, young adult
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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.
Vessel grabbed my attention with the cover – I won’t even lie to you. The colors and the non-Anglo featured female caught my eye right away. I didn’t even bother to read the description (dangerous stuff right there, and very shallow, I know). The author was well-known, so I figured it was well worth the chance to dive into this novel. Well, fear not, book cover lovers! Beauty is page deep in this tribal high fantasy!
Right now, I am suffering from a HUGE migraine, and things are completely crazy. So, (once again – this is so embarrassing) I shall make you a FUN FILLED LIST:
- This book really takes a lovely risk by stepping outside of the norm: a strong, non-white heroine set in a desert fantasy realm, mirroring the mythology of the Middle East (or even the Native American tribes) and throwing in a very complex web of romance and a strong sense of world-building and plot development.
- It was pleasant to see Liyana, a strong female lead, take the initiative to actually look past the romance to carry out a mission. Kudos for a kick-ass female lead! I found the secondary characters a bit rushed, but they were, overall, somewhat original.
- I LOVED the desert setting, and the entire mythology of the book. It might be spotty in some areas, but the stories and the beliefs colored the storyline and helped support a culturally-diverse plot.
- The EPIC ending. Despite some of the plotholes, I really enjoyed how the novel ended, and the direction the story veered to fulfill the resolution.
- FAMILY! There is a FAMILY! YA hates family more than I do at Christmas! I was pleased to see that relatives were alive and used properly in the book.
- Overall, the writing was very enjoyable.
- And above all – THAT COVER *squee*
- I never really understood Korbyn. He seemed to be everywhere. In fact, I never felt that there was a clear-cut description of ANY of the players in the novel.
- There were some missed opportunities for some awesome traditional storytelling. Don’t tell us the start of the story and never finish it!
- The other characters were original, but outside of Raan and the Emperor, I never cared for the rest of the people in the book.
- The middle was a bit dull and dry.