Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 3.96
Published: Sept. 11th, 2012
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 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.
This book was freaking amazing. The world that Sarah Beth Durst built with such extreme care and detail is enough to render you breathless, plus add to that an amazing heroine, high stakes, and twists and turns that leave you dizzy.. This one was awesome.
Let's first talk about the amazing dessert world we find between the pages. Has anybody ever played Journey? The indie PS3 game? Well this is how I picture the dessert:
Clans live in these desserts. Each clan worships a different God; there's the Goat clan, the Raven clan, the Scorpion clan, etc. Every century there is a terrible drought that hits the dessert people, and in order to survive this drought they need the help of their gods. Their Gods in turn in order to help them need a vessel in which they can come to live in. That's where Liyana comes in. Ever since her dreamwalking has her tribe known she is destined to be a vessel for their goddess. In turn Liyana has lived with the knowledge that she is destined to die young. But what happens when you do everything right and yet still your goddess doesn't come? And then this other God comes out of the blue and tells you your goddess has been kidnapped along with 4 others... well I'll tell you what happens, you put on your big girl pants and you walk into the sand covered sunset to rescue your goddess that's what you do! And that is exactly what Liyana does.
In this world there are wolves made out of sand, serpents made out of unbreakable glass scales that catch the sun light and reflect beautiful colors, even salt worms that will come out of the ground and eat you whole. It is full of cultures, and spirituality, and it is fantastically written. The story flows seamlessly, every other page is full of valuable information and impossible escapes. It is nothing like our world, and it is full of magic! But a kind of specific magic. They can't make things fly, or come up out of thin air. Instead their magic deals with nature, natural progresses and such. They can speed up or decrease the speed of something that will happen naturally. I think it fits perfectly with the story.
Liyana, our main character, is a fighter! Practical to the very end and clever. She respects, and honors, her clans customs and beliefs but also leaves a little space in her mind to question ancient practices. I say I connected with her, she is very likable and strong willed, as well as her companions, Korbyn, the trickster god, Pia (a vessel), the blind princess, Fennick (Vessel), the horse warrior, Raan (Vessel), the stubborn girl unwilling to let her life be taken over by old traditions. I liked them all (specially Raan). There are some very heartfelt scenes in this book as well as some more "I cant believe that just happened O.o" scenes.
The romance in the novel, yes there is romance, is a bit confusing to be perfectly honest. I felt like the whole novel we were gearing up to one conclusion, when all of a sudden something else, or to be exact someone else, is thrown into the already perfectly made up mix. The romance does have it's exhilarating parts, but I just felt like something was off with how it progressed. Not from the male's point, but from our main lady. It was weird, but I wouldn't be too worried about it, the romance is just the side dish to the story.
Now for the bad. Basically I felt like the main problem of the book, the whole reason they were making journeys and rescuing Gods, was left unfinished. It's like by the end of the book something else comes up (that surely is very important) and so the main problem gets swept away under the rug, or put off to the side never to be revisited. This irked me, because I was still left with the MAIN questions. Then the book ended and we get this Epilogue that is set 3 years after the events... and I was still left clueless. I still gave the book a five star because I enjoyed it that much and the story was very well written and the world was incredible, built with such care, but seriously questions need to be answered! AND THIS BOOK DOESN'T HAVE A SEQUEL! (which I thought was great because, well, it didn't need it, but maybe a short story that explains what happens after and before the epilogue?)
I enjoyed it, and I believe a lot of other people will too. There is not going to be another world like this, and I will just have to coupe with that reality. Now I'm about to go read another one of Sarah's books, Drink, Slay, Love.