Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst


by Sarah Beth Durst
Release date: 11th September, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 424 (hardcover copy bought by me)
Summary 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.

Review By Alaiel Kreuz:

It's been a long time since I picked up a book that moved me and captured me as much as this one did. And by the end of it I just felt complete.

But let's begin with the first thing we see here, the cover. I don't know about you but whoever designed the cover for Vessel didn't do a good job, he/she did a marvelous and stunning job. The second I saw it, the second I loved it and promptly added it to my wishlist.
This was just one of those books that I HAD to possess, as simple as that.

Then of course we have the plot. I think what amazes me most is the fact that the author shows us so many aspects like art, religion, clans and environment. The world building is just plain awesome, she covers every aspect with a lot of insight and that helps us understand more the society Liyana, the main character, lives in.
The scenario for this story is the dessert, and maybe it sounds boring, but it isn't. The complexity of the situations the different clans have to go through and the love they profese to the dessert makes it unique and as interesting as a character itself.

The most strong component in the book is the religion, of course. You see, every hundred years each clan welcomes its god/goddess that comes from the Dreaming to nourish the oasis they live in, bring rain and, all in all, help them survive another hundred years.
But the thing is, every time a god fills the body of the vessel (like Liyana) the soul inside that body fades in order to leave space for the god's soul.
And just like that, when the chosen ones are selected they have to consecrate their bodies to be nothing but perfect.
When the day comes Liyana dances for hours, but Bayla (goddess of the Goat's Clan) never comes and Liyana is left in the dessert, by her own people, to die as they assume she is not worthy of the goddess.
When everything turns to the worst and Liyana thinks she is just going to die a silhouette appears in the horizon... Korbyn, the trickster god, has come looking for her in order to save the other gods that have been kidnapped.
And here is where we learn that Liyana is strong, resourceful and ready to do whatever it takes to survive and save the gods. Even speak her mind in front of an Emperor.

Because this book has a love triangle, but it isn't the main thread and it's well developed. By the end of the book I wasn't really happy but it made sense so it didn't ruin the book for me.

And one thing I'm really happy about? The author made me fell in love, care and think about the characters as if they were real people and during the whole book I felt that I was there, with them, living each adventure and misfortune.
The fact that Vessel is a standalone book makes it even more fascinating and perfect, it proves that it's possible to tell a story so deep and rich without falling in the long series that are normal nowadays.
A book that makes you consider things like sacrifice, free will, faith and the importance between the life of one person for the survival of an entire group is a treasure.

As a bottom line all I can say is that I'm a huge fan of Sarah Beth now. Go pick up this book if you haven't already, it deserves all the attention it can get because it's perfect.

Alaiel's Rating:
If you really liked it, you can order it here:

You can find Sarah Beth Durst here:


  1. This book . . . wow there's NO words for it really. This was one of my absolute favourite books from last year so I'm glad you loved it as much as I did. Great review!

  2. Interesting, never heard of this book so added it to my TBR list. Sounds similar to one I am reading now.

  3. You are right, the cover is beyond beautiful!
    And I also had no idea this book existed so thanks for the review, I just ordered it from BookDepo ;)

  4. Hi Alaiel,
    I love the cover of this book also. You did a great job on your review, and I will be looking forward to reading the book and following you on your blog.
    Looking forward to seeing you back on our blog again too!

    RO@ A Bookish Escape

  5. Thanks for all your wonderful comments :D
    I loved this book so much that I want as many people as possible to know about it!


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