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Vessel

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  3,400 ratings  ·  538 reviews
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 o ...more
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry
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71st out of 404 books — 1,574 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tamora Pierce
Wow! Where Durst has always placed her books at least partly in our world, this is an otherworld fantasy, where there are flying serpents made of unbreakable glass, wolves made of sand, and subsurface giant worms that live in salt! Here the gods are vanishing and humans are in the midst of a great drought and famine, blaming the vessels who are supposed to house the gods when the gods don't come. But the god Raven, a wonderfully strong-hearted girl vessel, a troubled young emperor, and a handful ...more
Mitch
Creatively, Vessel hits all the right notes. Combining an intriguing premise - a girl’s raised to be a vessel for her goddess but is instead abandoned by her deity and her tribe - with a vividly stark desert landscape and plenty of moral questions, Sarah Beth Durst has certainly written one of the most highly original books I’ve ever read. Yet at the same time, the somewhat lacking characters and shallow plot really torpedoed what could’ve been a great book for me.

My problem with the characters
...more
Katy
3.5 stars - I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I really liked the story because it was unique and thought provoking. On the other hand, I felt the story progression kind of dragged, and I really didn't connect with any of the characters - with the exception of Raan - until the last part of the book.

I was really impressed with the world Durst has created. The concept of training your whole life to be worthy as a vessel and sacrificing your life for the gods is beyond intriguin
...more
TheBookSmugglers
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

REVIEW

Ana's Take:

Thousands of years ago, the people of the turtle made the desert their home and divided into several clans. It was a difficult way of life and many people died in the harsh desert. Those souls of the first dead wandered around our world until they found the Dreaming, where they remained.

But the souls could not rest in peace in the Dreaming when they could see how their people suffered in the desert. And so it has come to pass that the
...more
Misty
Okay, so what had happened was, I wrote a very glowing review of this last year after I read it, and apparently somewhere along the line, it got deleted. Couldn't tell you when, as it was around the holidays that it would have gone up (and who can focus on anything except yummy turkey dinners (mmm, gravy!*), ugly holiday sweaters and family dramz around the holidays?); all I know is that I went to link to it for something a few weeks ago and noticed it was no more. =/
[*But seriously, though? I a
...more
Krystle
4.5 stars.

Holy crap, this book is amazeballs!

I have no idea why this book hasn’t received more hype than it did. I mean, there was a big rush of it when the cover first came out but then as the months went on, the chatter died down.

And that cover. Omg, that cover. Lemme salivate for a moment…



It’s one of the most GORGEOUS COVERS EVER! I swear! Holy shizz. I want to have a huge giant poster of it plastered on my wall. It’s THAT awesome.

Guys, I want to tell you how much I loved this book. It’s so a
...more
Nafiza
I was surprised that this novel wasn’t more aggressively marketed because it has all the elements necessary for a blockbuster in the book world. I have been waiting for this novel for ages and it did not disappoint. Liyana is an extremely likable protagonist and following her journey is exhilarating and thrilling at times. The mythical world created by Durst is also fascinating with its different ecosystems, tribes, arts and religion. The desert is almost a character in its own right and I belie ...more
Amanda
Do not let my three-out-of five rating deceive you, this was a beautiful book, and I enjoyed it immensely. The world was rich in a mythology of its own, which added a touch of history to the culture and background that Durst created.

I appreciated many things in Vessel. The first being that it is a standalone fantasy novel. I've noticed an increasing amount of fantasy series, specifically marketed at a YA audience, and it's been difficult for me to find an enjoyable standalone novel in that genre
...more
Jessica
How does she do it?! None of Sarah Beth Durst's books are remotely similar in topic or style, yet they are all superb! She's done middle grade fractured fairy tales, contemporary vampire romance, and now this gorgeous fantasy set in a desert world where the gods walk among the tribes. Beautifully descriptive, with an interesting theme of the morality of sacrifice (both being sacrificed and accepting sacrifice).

I even liked the stories within the story! This is my pet peeve: when authors have so
...more
Bidisha
Glass serpents AND sand wolves? WHY DON'T I HAVE THIS ALREADY?!
Ferdy
Spoilers

-This was sort of a decent read. The premise and worldbuilding were great… they're the only reasons why I rated it 3 stars. The characters however were a huge let down. The heroine was really boring and so were the majority of the side characters.

-I liked the whole setting of the desert — it was described in a simple yet powerful way. I expected the writing to come across as overly flowery and lyrical but thankfully, that wasn't the case.
I absolutely loved the fables and tales that wer
...more
Kelly
Once every hundred years, the desert clans’ gods come to walk among them. One young man or woman from each clan is chosen to serve as the vessel for that clan’s deity. The human soul dies and returns to the Dreaming, while the god takes over the body. Now incarnate in the vessel’s body, the god works magic to help keep the clan alive in the harsh conditions of the desert.

Liyana has known for years that she is destined to be the vessel for the goddess Bayla. But Bayla never shows up. Believing th
...more
Eden
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 t ...more
Felicia
I am kind of a sucker for lore, and folklore, so i really liked this book for the believable world that was built. I think it could have used a bit more pacing, but overall, I really thought it was original, no vampires, yay!

This is set in a fantasy world with a nomadic people who sacrifice a child to be a "vessel" for the gods to come back to the earth (the gods take over their bodies), but Liyana, when they try to sacrifice her, doesn't disappear and become a goddess. This is a huge shame on h
...more
Blythe
"In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves ... "

Say no more, I'm in!
MLE
Mar 22, 2013 MLE rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: yad
There were aspects of this story that I really liked, and there were other aspects that weren't as strong for me.

I found Liyana to be very strong, and compelling especially in the beginning. I liked how practical, and blunt she could be. It was refreshing change from the whiny, self absorbed girls found in so much of ya literature. I liked her interactions with Korbyn. Their interplay helped keep the book interesting, and alive to me. However the secondary characters were weak, and ill formed. A
...more
Shambhawi P.
Vessel is a book that seems so predictable at first that you seem to have all the cards about the story laid down.

You know who the bad guy is.
You know how the romance will phase out.
You can guess what the big mystery is.
You can predict how the characters are going to act throughout the book.

Aaand, you will probably be correct about that. Until the shit hits the fan, that is.

Vessel has everything one would want out of a fantasy YA book - a tough female protagonist, a sarcastic cocky hero, a
...more
Hannah
3.5 stars. Vessel is the very best of young adult high fantasy - it's a thrilling and creative adventure with wonderful worldbuilding and a protagonist that is intelligent, sensible and extremely likeable. Actually, even the fact that this is young adult high fantasy, rather than paranormal or supernatural, wins brownie points; I can't remember the last time I'd read a good fantasy novel that didn't try to involve fae, vampires, werewolves and the like. Had the romance portion not left me ultima ...more
Yodamom
Dec 16, 2012 Yodamom rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone
4.5
Gods, Sacrifice, love and adventure all blend together in this wonderful fantasy. it follows an amazing heroine as she struggles to make a sacrifice to save her people.She meets and grows to know many gods, people and hear their stories. There is a lot of myth/story sharing which I loved.
Liyanna, she never weekend her beliefs, she does not cower in fear she charges into action even when all seems hopeless. She walks with the Trickster god- Raven, a fascinating man/god to spend time with. She
...more
Rachel
Meh. Another book I expected to love based on the cover and story blurb, but ended up being disappointed by. The funny thing is that the story itself is actually rather good.

A teenage girl has been raised to sacrifice herself to her dessert clan's goddess - allowing the goddess to come to life and save the people from drought. But when the clan performs the ceremony the goddess doesn't show up. The girl goes on a journey to find the abandoned vessels of the other dessert clans and together they
...more
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at Novel Idea Reviews

RATING: 4.5/5


This was one of those books that just had me completely spellbound from the first line. Vessel contains a beautifully constructed fantasy world of sweeping desert and volatile gods, of sand storms that darken the sun and dragons made of glass. Long before the end, Liyana had made it to my list of all-time favorite heroines and the ever expanding list of people I want to be when I grow up. (Uhh, whenever that miraculous event might occur… *cough
...more
Nicole
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 but it in a review that isn't going to be the size of a book report. I could go
...more
Krishna *wants to be a black wolf*
This is a book with a lot of potential and it did make use of it. The writing was melodic, fitting with the desert setting, and I liked the fact that the author did not shy away from brutal scenes. (Did those worms remind anyone of the King Kong movie? Eww...) There were two things that bothered me though. First, I felt that the love triangle, quadrilateral was unnecessary - (view spoiler) ...more
Kailia
Originally reviewed on my blog Reading the Best of the Best.

4.5 on blog. Rounded up

Having read and loved all of Sarah Beth Durst’s books, I can safely say that this was my most anticipated novel of hers. I didn’t read it for the longest time because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Yet all of the positive reviews seemed to be mocking me so I caved in and read Vessel. Vessel is by far Sarah Beth Durst’s best novel to date. It’s intriguing, beautiful, the setting is amazing and the characters en
...more
Molly Ringle
A lot of fantasy is set in a place sort of like medieval England, which is fine with me; but some, like this one, has a setting sort of like the Arabian Nights desert lands. That's less common and really cool, and in this case done beautifully. Story is told simply and clips right along, but manages even with that clean style to sketch up a rich world of desert tribes, sky serpents, and gods. One of my favorite aspects is the fact that a trickster god is the one we get to know the best. He's a t ...more
Zoë Marriott
The Synopsis:

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.

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
...more
Miranda
I’ve been a fan of Sarah Beth Durst ever since I read her first novel, Into the Wild. Despite some mishaps along the way, she’s remained one of my favourite authors, and Vessel is yet another winning book from her.

The world building is the best part of this novel. From the gods to the vessels, to the magic system and the clans Liyana and Korbyn visit, everything comes to life beautifully and makes sense. This is a world I want to see more of, to the point where I hope Durst writes a companion n
...more
Alz
Let's say that the one big issue I had with this book was the sort-of-kind-of love triangle--not Liyana and Korbyn, but Liyana and the other person. There just wasn't quuuuuite enough there for me to be seriously invested. I appreciate that it wasn't insta-love and overall the romance in this book is handled very well, without being soppy or stupid, or focusing on it to the detriment of everything else. Just I wish there was enough there for me to cheer it on or feel All the Things...and I didn' ...more
Hillary Hunt
There's a lot to like here; nice character arc for MC, unique and vivid world building, and an exciting ending.

That said, the character development was pretty shallow, imo. Particularly the secondary characters (Pia, Raan, Kennik) who felt like simple place holders with no investment made to them beyond a few attributes. I started out really loving Korbyn. It was interesting to see a trickster God in the position of being the only deity left to save the day, but I felt the author could've played
...more
Evie
Gorgeously imagined world with rich and flavourful cultural tapestry, characters you will root for, a seemingly impossible quest of epic proportions, and a conclusion that will leave you breathless and heartbroken - Vessel has all that and more! This sweeping tale mixes adventure, romance, drama and enough eye-popping sorcery to earn this book a place on every fantasy fan's shelf. It's definitely one of 2012 must-reads!

Once every hundred years, the goddess of the Goat Clan (Bayla) is summoned
...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. YA/ Scifi book about a girl who lives in a desert [s] 9 59 Oct 26, 2014 03:26PM  
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Sarah Beth Durst is the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including Conjured, Vessel, and Ice. Her most recent YA novel, Chasing Power, came out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury, and her most recent book for adults, The Lost, came out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature and has been a finalist for ...more
More about Sarah Beth Durst...
Ice Drink, Slay, Love Enchanted Ivy Into the Wild (Into the Wild, #1) Conjured

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“Imagine that it's sugar," Korbyn said. 'You're riding across candy.'

"Salt can never be sugar," Fennik said.

"We should talk about the definition of the word 'imagine'.”
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“Impressive vocabulary," Korbyn said. "I feel as though I should take notes."
"I think she's making them up," Liyana said. "Half of them are not anatomically possible.”
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