Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vessel (YA)

Vessel. Sarah Beth Durst. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 424 pages.

Vessel is a good example of an almost book for me. It almost almost made me love it, but, not quite. I did enjoy it, for the most part. There were chapters that were quite satisfying, that gave me hope. But then there were places I felt a disconnect, and ultimately I didn't end up loving it as much as I had originally hoped. I definitely went into this one with high expectations. I thought it had the potential to be wow-worthy. And I think for some readers, it works well, really well. I am sure it will find readers that do love it.

Readers first meet Liyana, a young woman who is destined to be a "vessel" to her clan's goddess, Bayla. When the possession does not happen, when the goddess fails to come and take possession of this girl's body, well, her clan leaves her to die in the desert. She doesn't die, however, she is found by a god, Korbyn, a trickster god who has recently taken possession of his own human vessel. He has a message and a mission. Certain gods and goddesses have vanished from the Dreaming, including Bayla. The ceremonies have failed and the gods and goddesses are disappearing. He doesn't know where, though he tells her he felt a pull to the East, but he knows that they have to rescue them from false vessels and restore them to their worthy (human) vessels. For only if they are restored will the god's magic be able to heal the desert lands and save all the desert clans. Liyana is easy to convince; she finds Korbyn charming and swoon-worthy. But some of the other vessels won't be so easy to convince. These two must prepare to go on quite the adventure quest...

Readers also meet a super-mysterious emperor, but, I felt these sections weren't as compelling as the rest of the novel. (I didn't connect with them and was a bit puzzled by everything until the ending when things became clearer.)

For those that like fantasy and magic and storytelling, this one does have potential

Read Vessel
  • If you love fantasy, magic, gods and goddesses
  • If you love storytelling, if you love storytelling cultures and mythologies
  • If you love novels with world-building

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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