Vessel

Vessel

4.7 10
by Sarah Beth Durst
     
 

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This atmospheric fantasy is, “from the gripping first line, a fast-paced, thought-provoking, and stirring story of sacrifice” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

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’See more details below

Overview

This atmospheric fantasy is, “from the gripping first line, a fast-paced, thought-provoking, and stirring story of sacrifice” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
On the day Liyana accepts that her place in this world is to sacrifice her life for the greater good of her tribe, everything falls apart, including tribe. From birth, Liyana has learned to dance a certain way to conjure up their beloved goddess so her people can continue to reap of the benefits of her powers. Now she dances and dances but no goddess appears. Her fearful tribe and even her own family leave her. Her only hope for survival and reunification with her family comes with another god, Korbyn, who shares the mystery behind the goddess not appearing and sets them out on an adventure that leads to danger and even death. Layers of plot and strong character development push the reader along; each chapter leads the story in a different direction and nothing goes as it seems into the end. Reviewer: Julia Beiker; Ages 14 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Once each century, the desert deities inhabit the bodies of human vessels, bringing health and prosperity to their tribes. Liyana has trained all her life for this honor. But when she fails to summon her goddess, her tribe abandons her lest she bring them misfortune. She is rescued by trickster god Korbyn, who informs her that five gods are missing. Joined by three other vessels, Liyana and Korbyn set out to rescue them from an ambitious emperor who hopes to use the captive deities to gain control over the desert and its people. To do so, Liyana must defy taboo by learning magic. She must also confront the emperor himself if she hopes to save her friends, her people, and her gods from an uncertain fate. But can she do so without sacrificing herself? Durst has crafted a unique fantasy world populated with dangerous creatures and strong characters and woven together with magic. Liyana's inner struggle between upholding tradition and her own desire to live is obvious throughout. However, the third-person narrative gives her plight a somewhat detached feel. Additionally, the plot moves slowly at times. Nevertheless, the story is solid and will appeal to fans of romantic fantasy.—Alissa J. Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI
Publishers Weekly
In this powerful and melancholy fantasy, Liyana, a child of the desert, does not rebel against her fate as a vessel—a human whose mind is destined to die so that a goddess may occupy her body. Though Liyana is obedient, and her ritual performance is flawless, the goddess does not come, and her nomadic clan abandons her as unworthy. Unsure whether to try to live, she is still crouched at the empty campsite when a handsome, unearthly boy steps out of the sands. Korbyn claims to be one of the manifested gods and says that five of his kindred have been trapped, their rightful vessels left empty. He asks Liyana to help him gather the other vessels and right the wrong. Though this means death for her, Liyana remains dutiful and joins his quest. With strong folklore elements, a striking setting, and thoroughly imagined characters, Durst (Drink Slay Love) has woven a story that does not shy from the bawdy, violent, or pragmatic realities of life. Ages 12–up. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Inc. (Sept.)
Starred Review - Booklist
"Brilliantly riveting"
From the Publisher
* "From the gripping first line, a fast-paced, thought-provoking and stirring story of sacrifice."—Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED
Starred Review Booklist
"Brilliantly riveting"
*STARRED Booklist
"Brilliantly riveting."
starred review VOYA
*"Vessel is a fast-paced, thrilling adventure set in a hostile world filled with complex clan feuds and strong traditions. . . . The highly descriptive writing forms intense visuals for the reader so that characters, animals, and locations feel rich and realistic."
VOYA - Laura Perenic
Liyana of the nomadic Goat Clan is destined from birth to be a vessel for the goddess Bayla. When her goddess and those of many other tribes are kidnapped by a vengeful citizen of the Crescent Empire, vessels bereft of their divine possessors are killed outright or left to die in the desert. Survivors have little choice but to track down the abductors to save their deities and reclaim a place in their clan. Also struggling to survive is young emperor Jarlath of the Crescent peoples, who are suffering through a terrible drought. Believing the magic of a far-off lake will save his people, he attempts to protect the empire at the cost of losing all the neighboring tribes to a famine. With sand wolves and giant worms, the folklore of the tribes comes to life as magic wielding gods and goddesses join the cast. Vessel is a fast-paced, thrilling adventure set in a hostile world filled with complex clan feuds and strong traditions. Throughout the book, characters share stories of their clans. The storytelling culture is reminiscent of other peoples with strong oral traditions, like many Native American tribes. In addition to the unique history Durst has created as backstory, the highly descriptive writing forms intense visuals for the reader so that characters, animals, and locations feel rich and realistic. Reviewer: Laura Perenic
Kirkus Reviews
When a summoning goes awry, Liyana must try to save her people and learn how to live for herself, in this sweeping adventure. Chosen as a "vessel" to host the Goat Clan's goddess, Bayla, and abandoned when Bayla doesn't come, Liyana finds herself alone in the desert. Korbyn, god of the Raven Clan, rescues Liyana and provides her with a purpose: find the four other vessels who are also missing deities. Soon, Liyana and Korbyn pick up stalwart Fennik (horse god Sendar), princess-y Pia (silk goddess Oyri) and angry Raan (scorpion goddess Maara). Besides the desert's many dangers, the ragtag group faces the massed army of the Crescent Empire, led by a young Emperor and his malicious magician, Mulaf. The tribes need their gods to save them from illness, starvation and drought, but the gods need to possess vessels to work magic--an arrangement whose logic several characters begin to question. Liyana is self-sacrificing but not a saint; stubborn, loyal, and curious, she finds new reasons to live even as she faces death. Durst offers a meditation on leadership and power and a vivid story set outside the typical Western European fantasy milieu. From the gripping first line, a fast-paced, thought-provoking and stirring story of sacrifice. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442423787
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
09/11/2012
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
229,324
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Conjured, Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild. She has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times, for Vessel, Ice, and Into the Wild. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. The Lost, The Missing, and The Found are Sarah's first novels for adults.

Visit her at sarahbethdurst.com.

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