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Vessel

Durst, Sarah Beth (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Vessel
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When the goddess Bayla fails to take over Liyana's body, Liyana's people abandon her in the desert to find a more worthy vessel, but she soon meets Korbyn, who says the souls of seven deities have been stolen and he needs Liyana's help to find them.
Authors: Durst, Sarah Beth
Title: Vessel
Publisher: New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 424 p. ;,22 cm
Summary: When the goddess Bayla fails to take over Liyana's body, Liyana's people abandon her in the desert to find a more worthy vessel, but she soon meets Korbyn, who says the souls of seven deities have been stolen and he needs Liyana's help to find them.
Audience: 012-up
ISBN: 1442423765
9781442423763
Statement of Responsibility: Sarah Beth Durst
Subject Headings: Deserts Fiction Survival Fiction Fate and fatalism Fiction Goddesses Fiction
Genre/Form: Young adult fiction
Fantasy fiction
Topical Term: Deserts
Survival
Fate and fatalism
Goddesses
LCCN: 2011044691
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Library Staff

Liyana has spent most of her life training to become the vessel for her desert tribe’s goddess. On the appointed day she will dance to summon Bayla, who will inhabit her body while Liyana’s spirit dies. Liyana is prepared, but when the ceremony fails her tribe accuses her of being unfit and aband... Read More »


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Jun 22, 2013
  • Yahong_Chi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This novel was everything wonderful about fantasy in one go. Let's start with the worldbuilding, because holy wow is it stellar. The desert and its clans clearly have history. The myths the people have for their beginnings read like a genuine creation story, while the novel's actual premise and the magic involved are worked intricately into the lifestyle of the people. So the vessel concept is unique, yes, but it isn't just a hook; it has substance. It has meaning. And oh, there is a delicious twist concerning the vessels' lives, the deities who overtake them, and magic. Liyana, we're told, is practical, and she is -- wonderfully so. Her pragmatism gives her an innate strength that makes her courageous and savvy, an excellent combination for the political dealings that pick up during the story. As a foil, Korbyn excels; he's good-natured on the surface, almost light-hearted, but with a level head and a rough yet protective side. With them together, there are moments of head-spinning emotion and instances of excellent humour.

The other characters, from the assorted vessels and clan members to the Crescent Empire personages, all fulfill their role with well-fleshed personalities; the growing relationship between Liyana and the Emperor stand out in particular. The deities themselves are, surprisingly, also developed, and the relationship involving Liyana, Bayla (Liyana's clan's god) and Korbyn shift constantly, believably, as does the relationship between the Crescent Empire and the desert clans. The villain is sufficiently evil with his dramatic ambition, but it's crux of these two key relationships that makes the ending so heartbreaking. Such an epic journey across the desert, with such a finale... I'm not going to lie. When I finished Vessel, I wanted to cry.

Apr 22, 2013
  • ParnassusReads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I came across this title on i09 and decided to check it out from the library. What a refreshing read in teen fiction! It appears to be a stand-alone, for one thing, it’s based in non-Western mythos, and the characters are POC! (I just used exclamation points, twice! That’s how excited I am.) I was just bitching about the lack of all of this in epic fantasy on Kate Elliot’s livejournal page. While I don’t think Durst’s book qualifies as epic fantasy, it does breathe some much needed new life into teen fantasy (while the cover does show a girl in a corset, which doesn’t seem too logical for a member of a desert tribe, at least it’s not a girl in a prom dress).

The freshness of the novel and its mythology (which was coherent, cognent, and compelling) may have overshadowed some of its defects while reading it. Chief among these are the rapid pace of the plot and the character development. The latter was adequate, but it could have been much better and in turn made this a much deeper novel than it was. Durst’s writing was good, even lovely at times, and her depictions of the desert put me in mind of Nnendi Okorafor (if you haven’t read her yet, WTFN?). While Durst aspired to that level of story-telling, she fell short, mainly because she seemed to focus more on plot than on her characters. This is odd, since her plot is to collect characters, essentially.

On the whole, I really enjoyed Vessel and would highly recommend it if you’re a bit tired of the normal teen fantasy fare.

"Liyana has been trained since birth as a vessel, a chosen one whose body will be taken over by the goddess Bayla so that the rains will come and sustain her people. When the ceremony to call Bayla fails, Liyana's tribe considers her unworthy and abandons her to die in the desert... but a trickster-god, inhabiting the body of a boy named Korbyn, finds her and reveals that his kindred have been kidnapped, and Liyana must help him rescue them. With its vividly imagined setting that's sure to fascinate fans of great world-building, Vessel is a stirring and thought-provoking read full of myth and magic." Teen Scene November 2012 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=565687

Sep 17, 2012
  • Caryn rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wonderful book -- should be up for international awards. And it wraps up in a single volume, complete with horses and an emperor and sandworms and a brave young woman. Highly recommended.

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