"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."
Sarah Beth Durst writes Vessel. This book belongs to the genre of High Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, and Mythology. As I said before, there is magic. On an off-topic note, I don't know which myths inspires Vessel, because I'm sadly uninformed of myths. Seriously uninformed and ignorant of mythology unless the myth is Greek, Roman, Japanese, and Chinese (and maybe some Norse). I don't recall where the gods, Korbyn or Bayla, come from, but I'm sure Google can answer that in a heartbeat.
(Actually, it doesn't seem to come from anywhere as far as I can tell. If anyone can tell me, I will thank you immensely.)
Knowing she is marked for death, Liyana gives herself up anyway, not fighting for her freedom. But when the goddess (who will kill her) doesn't come to possess Liyana's body (and kill her), Liyana is left to die in the desert by herself. Alone and abandoned by the very people who loves her. Suddenly, there is a world of opportunity, if only Liyana could survive in the heartless desert. Awed by the appearance of Korbyn (and greatly in love with him), Liyana is willing to do whatever it takes to save her goddess. But when there is freedom and free will, there comes choices. Her character really grows when she is left to make her own choices out of her own will. She is a bit naive and "practical," but Liyana is definitely smart and tactical. She grows on her own, learning how to use her freedom and make her own choices.
The plot starts off quickly enough. It follows Liyana's POV (sometimes disappearing into the Emperor's POV), and it is easy enough to follow. The writing style flows smoothly, and I go along the nice pacing of the book without a bump in the road. Honestly, Vessel is perhaps one of the best books from Sarah Beth Durst.
There is a light enough romance that keeps me interesting and invested. Korbyn is a god, and he is powerful (and weak) in his own way. He is a trickster god, who likes to pull pranks on many other gods (and people and mortals). Korbyn and Liyana's relationship is striking to watch and read. They are greatly entertaining, and I... Oh, spoilers.
The ending is one of the most surprising part of the book. I have to say that I'm quite disappointed, but... The more I think about the ending, the more I agree with how Durst ends Vessel. Still, I would like to go down with that certain ship.
Overall, Vessel is a great and excellent book. It is exciting, and it brings a delicate world of tribes and empires (reminding me of times from pre-American Revolution). Liyana is a wonderful character, and Sarah Beth Durst weaves a wonderful tale to escape into. Vessel is definitely worth a good reread.
Rating: Four out of Five