Vessel 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’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.

About Sarah Beth Durst

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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
Published September 11, 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books. 434 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Vessel

Kirkus Reviews

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Soon, Liyana and Korbyn pick up stalwart Fennik (horse god Sendar), princess-y Pia (silk goddess Oyri) and angry Raan (scorpion goddess Maara).

Jun 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Vessel

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Aug 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Vessel


In this story, Liyana, a young girl raised to literally be a vessel for a goddess, is crushed when during the ceremony in which the goddess is supposed to take over her body (and she dies), nothing happens.

Oct 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Vessel

Fantasy Literature

Once every hundred years, the desert clans’ gods come to walk among them.

Oct 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Vessel


As Liyana and Korbyn swap folk tales and look out for each other they fall into a sweet romance, complicated by the fact that he's actually with the goddess who Liyana was supposed to sacrifice herself for.

Feb 26 2013 | Read Full Review of Vessel

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