Book Review of Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Posted August 2, 2013 by Kara in book review, Lyn / 18 Comments

Book Review of Vessel by Sarah Beth DurstVessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on September 11th, 2012
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 424
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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:

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  • 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*
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  • 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.
I would have to say that, all-in-all, this book was exciting, fresh, and filled with some wonderful writing and storytelling. There was enough to enjoy in Vessel to be able to overlook some of the missed opportunities and shortcomings. You girls looking for a strong, confident female character need to invest in this book.

18 responses to “Book Review of Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

  1. That is one scary whatever that is in the second gif. lol I’ve heard some fairly lovely things about this one, and haven’t yet read anything by this author yet so I may have to check this one out. Glad you liked it! Fab review. 🙂

    • It is from an anime called FairyTales (I haven’t seen it, I just noticed it was in the description!)

      Thanks! It seems that list reviews seem to go over a lot better!

  2. The desert setting in this one really intrigues me. I can’t wait to read this one soon! Also this epic ending is really intriguing me. And LOL at your family note in DIS I LIKE. But characters you’re unable to understand is no fun. :/

  3. Dis review I like very much. For once I read the blurb, though I’m totally there with you on the “it’s the cover” front. The synopsis sounds super intriguing and it’s so good to hear that the story was on par with what’s promised. I’m also glad it’s a standalone because, yay resolution! Oh, I hope your migraine goes away soon.

    • Dis comment I like very very much!
      I hope so as well – my life is reduced to hot showers and caffeine (which was the same pre-migraine days, but add in more internet).

  4. Ahh I’m really happy you enjoyed this one <3 It sounds like an amazing fantasy, and the fact that the main character is so awesome is really great, and so is the fact that there was a theme of family and a desert setting? It kind of reminds me of The Girl of Fire and Thorns in a vague way since it also partially took place in a desert. I liked that one, and I like fantasy a lot so I’ll definitely be checking this one out soon. The ending sounds really fantastic, too, I hope you feel better soon, Lyn! 😀

    Fantastic review! <3

  5. Middle Eastern mythology?
    Is there any need to sell me further?
    Okay, so it is a bit sad that you weren’t able to connect to the characters, as that’s one of my most crucial points, but hey! strong female protagonist and looking past the romance and awesome mythology and world building and family?
    PS – hope you’re feeling better from your migraine!

  6. Kyaaaaaa! A book set in a desert and has Arabian references?! I’ve been on a hunt for these! I don’t know, but I love the Middle East, as far as settings are concerned… especially Middle East in the past. Their civilization back then was just so rich and I’d love to read more of it! I’m DEFINITELY checking this out. And seeing that you loved it… yes, yes, a definite must-have. THANK YOU FOR THE REVIEW!

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

  7. I checked this book out but wasn’t able to finish it before it was due 🙁 Still looking forward to trying it especially because of the unique setting-really want to encourage more of that!

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