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Vessel

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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 ...

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Vessel

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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

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"
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)
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 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."
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442423763
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 456,628
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Amazing

    This book draws you in. Not only are the characters amazing but they're unique and diffrent in their own ways. I completley love this book! If you like romance and fantasy I highly recomend this book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2014

    Absolutely Amazing story

    I absolutely loved this book. It brought tears to my eyes. It sometimes made me a little frustrated with certain characters too! That only means that it was a great book. It's different than anything I have ever read. Love love love love love!!!!

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Vessel by Sa

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
    Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
    Publication Date: September 11, 2012
    Rating: 5 stars
    Source: Copy gifted by a friend




    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.




    What I Liked:




    Can I just say "everything" and be finished? Yes? Please. Because seriously, this book was THAT GOOD. I was shocked that I liked it that much. I had a feeling that I would enjoy it, but LOVE? Five stars? Wow. This book blew me away, in the best of ways. The gods and goddesses thing had me kind of skeptical, because I generally don't enjoy books that deal with deities. I don't know why. But I really, really liked this one, as you can see. 




    Liyana has been exiled by her clan, because on the day of the summoning ceremony, Liyana danced, but her goddess did not come and inhabit her body. Liyana is left alone, with the desert heat on her back and sand wolves for companions (companions that try to kill her... wonderful). Korbynn, a god-inhabited vessel, shows up and tells her that five gods have been stolen, unable to inhabit their vessels (like Liyana). Korbynn and Liyana set out to find the other vessels, and then find the stolen deities. But so much more is at stake. The emperor wants to take the desert people under his control, but the desert people don't want this. And the Great Drought is still the entire empire. Mama mia!








    First, I LOVE the world-building in this book. I love what Durst has created. This fantasy world is splendid, superb, amazing, fabulous, insert super positive adjective here. I could practically see, feel, touch the desert that Durst has brought to life. Everything so perfectly pieces together to make the world in which Liyana lives - the vicious sand wolves, the deadly sand worms, the scarcity of water, the intense sandstorms... Durst evokes the presence and essence of the world and setting beautifully.




    The culture is so rich in this book. The lore and history is deep and all-encompassing and so, so crucial in this novel. At first, I was like, ugh, another story. But every story that Liyana tells has its purpose. Also, it helps to give an even better feel of the world and culture of the Goat Clan, and desert people in general. The gods and goddesses have such a large place in the lives of the desert people. I'm impressed with how well Durst displays the importance of the gods to readers. The gods are EVERYTHING to Liyana, and to her people. Liyana is willing to die and give her body to her goddess, Bayla, even when she tastes freedom, when Bayla does not come during the summoning ceremony. Incredible.




    I LOVE Liyana. She is actually one of my favorite YA heroines. She has some serious spunk, grit, voice. The thing is, she's not over the top with her spunk. She is practical yet fierce, careful yet bold. She is extremely intelligent. I feel like she and I would get along really well, if she were an actual person.




    I love the supporting characters as well. There are so many! Korbynn, the god who is actually inhabiting his vessel (he is also the lover of Bayla), Jidali (Liyana's little brother, who she thinks of very often), Fennik, Pia, Raan (vessels for their deities), the emperor. I have to say, I LOVED Korbynn right from the start, and the emperor, and Raan. They are my favorite supporting characters.




    You are probably wondering about the romance. If Bayla and Korbynn love each other, and are lovers, where does that leave Korbynn and Liyana? It's not hard to see that Liyana will develop feelings for Korbynn, and vice versa. But Liyana is Bayla's vessel, and will die as soon as Bayla inhabits her body. Well, you'll have to read this book to figure out what happens in the romance. Personally, I LOVE what Durst did. I love the male interest so much, as a love interest and as a character with a pivotal role in this book. There is no real love triangle in this novel, if anyone was wondering. Don't believe people if they say that that's the case (I have no idea what people are saying, but I feel like that could have been something mentioned).




    I kind of loved everything about this book. The story is so intricate and beautiful. You'd think that for a "long" YA novel (I don't think it's that long) that it would drag a little, or the pacing would be off somewhere. That was certainly not the case in this book. I loved all four hundred and some pages of this book.




    So basically, you should read this book. Like right now. Forget whatever you're reading. This book got FIVE STARS from me, Alyssa, resident harda** when it comes to reading and reviewing and critiquing and picking things apart. So. There's that. Now off you go.




    What I Did Not Like:




    I can't think of anything specific to say in this section, but I'll update it if something comes up. Which probably won't happen. But you know.




    Would I Recommend It:




    YES! Whether you're a fantasy fan or not, whether you can't sit through "long" books or not, this is definitely a book for anyone (in my opinion). There is amazing world-building, an interesting story, tons of fascinating characters, and a lovely romance. I'm thrilled to have had a chance to read this book - the culture and world was enough for me to fangirl all over the place. YES, I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!




    Rating:




    5 stars. Oh my goodness. I loved this book so much. I'm actually angry at myself, for having a copy of it for nearly two years, and not reading it until now. This is an incredible fantasy novel. And I have a signed copy, yay! That makes me incredibly happy. Go get a copy for yourself, trust me on this!

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Life is arduous for the clans of the desert. They prize their t

    Life is arduous for the clans of the desert. They prize their traditions and independence from the Crescent Empire, and they depend on the beneficence of their gods. Every century the gods to them and inhabit the bodies of the Vessels, chosen from among the clans ranks, and bring water and life to the desert.
    Liyana has prepared for her whole life to be the Vessel of Bayla. She has been fed, clothed, and protected to provide the perfect Vessel for Bayla, and on the day of Bayla’s summoning, the goddess will take the body of her Vessel while Liyana’s soul will be forced from her body to return to the Dreaming. Liyana does not fear her death, for it will assure the survival of her clan.
    But when the summoning is done, Liyana still lives . . . the goddess did not come.
    Fearing a curse, Liyana’s clan leaves her with the bare necessities of survival and vanishes into the desert.
    Alone, Liyana faces an uncertain fate until a young man appears out of the desert. He is Korbyn, the avatar of a trickster god who brings the news that several of the gods have gone missing, and that Liyana and he must find the other Vessels and seek out the trapped gods.
    Beyond the desert, the young emperor of the Crescent Empire seeks the survival of his people in the form of a lake, seen only in a dream.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    The story is very good, and told very well. It's intriguing and

    The story is very good, and told very well. It's intriguing and very good. My problem is, the ending isn't great. It's awkward and rushed, and it feels like the author had a bunch of ideas and didn't want to get rid of any, so she threw them all in.
    And the couplings at the end are both awkward and without chemistry, and sort of come out of nowhere and don't really fit with the rest of the story

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Fabulous Book

    This book actually intrigued me from the very start. It was one of very few books that I purchased online and had shipped to me.

    This book presents a world of magic and intrigue, a world where gods exist in another reality apart from their human counter parts only to return every hundred years, or so to revitalize the desert they live in. These humans are called Vessel’s, after which the book is aptly named.

    The story chronicles the life of a Vessel named Liyana, who after performing the summoning ceremony for her god, finds herself alive and well without any sight of her god. Normally her soul would have been displaced effectively killing her, but she is left godless and deserted by her clan. Liyana is found by another Vessel currently inhabited by the trickster god Korbyn. She goes on a journey to discover the fate of the missing gods.

    My review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even now after having just finished it there is a feeling in my stomach, almost a sadness that it has ended. While reading this book I, honestly laughed out loud more times than with most other books I have read. I smiled, I frowned, and I cried. I can truly say that this book has enchanted me to the point where I could not put it down. Even when sleep overtook me I was left with dreams filled with desert sands and the seductive promise of magic.

    As always I made guesses at the beginning of this journey with this book, and surprisingly I was proven wrong. I did not expect this ending. I felt the main character, Liyana, was a strong and courageous woman in her journeys when most girls are portrayed as week and needing others to help her. She commands situations and because of the circumstances of her, as it was stated “Dreamwalk”, she has a wisdom that far exceeds her years in this world.

    This book I cannot say held me on the edge of my seat with it’s fight scenes nor did it make me terrified of the future of the characters. I believe it’s true beauty is in how realistically this world was portrayed. The myths and the stories (folklore enthusiast please forgive me) were beautiful. I do not know if they stem from actual stories or if Sarah Beth Durst created them herself, but I can say that they captivated my inner child. The stories of the animals, of the gods and their alternate forms, captured my attention. Everything about this story was beautifully woven together into a world very close to our own but yet also somehow different. It is this difference that seduced me. In this world magic is possible, though with it’s own limitations. Small miracles are conducted and friendships are formed between unlikely allies. I became attached to the characters and hoped, wished for their eternal well-being.

    Did I have any particular dislikes? I had very few, there were occasional grammatical mistakes and the word “his” was used when it should have been “he”. POSSIBLE SPOILER: My biggest problem was a basis of personal preference of love interest, but this can barely be considered something that could detract from the book. /END POSSIBLE SPOILER

    I do not know if this is considered for a series or not, but I can say that I wish I could hear more stories. This book was beautiful and if this was any indication of the quality of the author’s other books I believe them well worth looking into.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A moment of silence for all future attempts at fantasy desert no

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Storytelling within storytelling

    The imagery hooks you and draws you in. The pace of the book is perfect for what transpires in Liyanas journey and the characters carry themselves with a sense of believability. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. It was like habing an anime play in my head. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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