Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
How Received: publisher copy
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.
A moment of silence for all future attempts at fantasy desert novels, for I think they may have just been viciously crushed in a sandstorm.
There is no secret that I am a fantasy fan. If you do not like fantasy, you will probably not like this book. If you do like fantasy, you will probably spend several days drooling over the near perfection of it.
Vessel has so many things that are done right that it's hard for me to put it in a review that isn't going to be the size of a book report. I could go into so many details about why the characters were great and how I loved the characters arcs and this sacrifice and that realization and wait, when did I start loving Pia and oh gosh, Liyana, you are so much better than I am, and-
well, you get the idea. I can go into a fangasm over it all.
So I'll try to stay mildly cohesive and point out just a few things.
The world Vessel is set in is deadly and dangerous and gorgeous, but most interesting to me is the fact that Sarah Beth Durst has never played the game Journey. I'm pretty certain that Journey is what the Dreaming looks like.
The characters, as you can tell from my flailing above, are just amazingly well-crafted. The humans are so very human, and the gods are so very frail, and I just - please, just read it.
The only thing - ONLY THING - I had a problem with was the love plot. There were hints of a relationship with her and Korbyn, but it never really happened, and that was okay. But something is thrust on for Liyana at the end of the book, and I can't help but feel the book would have been just as special and amazing if Liyana had remained romance-free.
However, the perfection of the rest of the book far outshines that one ignorable problem, and this is definitely something I'll be rereading soon.
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 9/10 (curse that unneeded love plot!). Beautiful plot, beautiful world, beautifully crafted characters.
Cover Comments: Hnnnnnng. Can I have a poster?
Medalon or Vessel?: Medalon by Jennifer Fallon is also a high fantasy set on another world where gods come into play, but the two are so different in terms of gods and worlds and plots that it's hard to choose. However, if you like Vessel, odds are that you'll enjoy Medalon.
Have you read Vessel yet? And if not -- why!?