Thursday, 22 May 2014

Vessel - Book Review

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Vessel – Book Review

Sarah Beth Durst

YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a Goddess. She will dance and summon her tribes 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…
Review:

I had never heard of Sarah Beth Durst before and knew nothing of her books. Yet when someone recommended this story to me, I knew instantly she was an author I needed to check out. Being a big fan of fantasy, I enjoyed all the magical elements hidden within the pages and found the story to be both different and ultimately gripping. A really, really great read.

When Liyana steps into the sacred circle, she knows she will not walk out of it alive. She has had sixteen years to come to terms with her fate, and although fear lurks in her heart she is determined to carry out her destiny. If it means the survival of her people, she will gladly give up her soul so that the Goddess may inhabit her body and bring life and prosperity to her village. Yet when the music stops, Liyana finds her destiny has changed. She is still alive. Her Goddess never came. And now her people will die.

In an angry mob her village turns on her, leaving her alone in the desert, to perish under the scorching sun. Accepting that perhaps death is, after all, to be her fate, Liyana is surprised when from the vast dunes of sand a boy emerges. Claiming to be Korbyn, the notorious trickster God, he explains how the Gods and Goddesses of the desert have been captured. Now together they must set out on a mission to free the trapped deities and rescue the other Vessels before its too late… but just how much can a trickster God be trusted…?

I really adored this book. I thought that the concept for the story was simply stunning and I love the world Sarah Beth Durst has created. A universe of sand and desolation, where life and death is ruled by the magic of the Gods, it is a place where no one can be trusted and each tribe is only looking out for themselves.
Furthermore the sand wolves and glass dragons particularly captured my imagination, yet despite the fantastical elements the magic came with rules and limitations, all of which combined together to make a very real and intriguing read.

 The story is told mostly through Liyana’s eyes, and she was a refreshingly strong character from the start. Smart and intuitive, she trusts her instincts and each new trial and danger only makes her stronger.
The one part of the book I disliked however was the romance that kindled between her and another character – for while I understood the reasoning behind it I thought it made Liyana seem very fickle in her feelings, for while I wouldn’t say there was a love triangle there was change of heart that I couldn’t relate to in anyway. And while it served to make the story unpredictable, I still couldn’t help but be disappointed when the two characters I wanted to be together parted ways.

Yet the romance aside, I really loved everything else about this book. The plot moved at a fast pace, each of the secondary characters was unique and charming – especially the other Gods who where rather selfish and childish in comparison to their human vessels. And to top it all off, I liked that it was hard to read peoples agendas which kept the plot a mystery and me turning the pages.

So overall, a four star read! VESSEL is great YA fantasy and one that I would recommend to any Tamora Pierce or Maria V Snyder fans, and I can’t wait to check out more books by Sarah Beth Durst. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know! This is definitely a book for the keep shelf J


Sunday, 18 May 2014

If I Should Die - Book Review

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If I should Die – Book Review

Amy Plum

YA Paranormal

Revenants Book #3

Synopsis:

I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant out future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.
It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying – to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others – so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

Review:

Both an enjoyable read and lovely end to what has been a great series, If I should Die was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. With romance, intrigue and an ultimate battle between good and evil, fans of the series will not be disappointed with this final instalment of Amy Plum’s marvellous revenants trilogy.

When Vincent’s body is destroyed, Katie is left alone and distraught. Now with her boyfriend stuck as a wandering spirit - both of them betrayed by someone they thought a friend - and an impending war arising between the immortals of Paris, Kate is more determined than ever to play her part in putting things back to rights. She will not lose any more people she cares about!

So setting out on the seemingly hopeless task of reanimating her boyfriend, Kate is willing to pay any price to bring Vincent back to her. Yet when her family are suddenly thrust into the thick of her problems with the immortals, Kate’s realises her future, and that on those she loves, hangs on a single decision. But just what will Kate be willing to sacrifice, her love, her family… or her life…

Amy Plum did an amazing job of bringing this trilogy to a stunning conclusion. Picking up exactly where the last book left off, the reader is instantly thrown back into the action. With Vincent lost and the Revenants on the brink of war, the story moved at a fast pace and I found it almost impossible to put this book down. A real page turner!

Yet while I did guess many of the plot points, there were a few surprises along the way. But ultimately, everything that I wanted to happen, happened, therefore leaving me a very happy reader.

Also in this book Kates growth as character is truly apparent. She is no longer drifting through life and instead knows exactly what she wants from it – and thanks to all the life and death situations she was thrust into, she now has both the strength and the determination to achieve her goals. Learning from her past mistakes, she no longer lets her fear and self doubt control her. She trusts her instincts and it was great to watch how she has developed into this woman who is, now, quite the force to be reckoned with.

Vincent, of course, remains the perfect love interest. Protecting Kate when he can, yet sullenly understanding when she strikes out on her own. He lets her grow and doesn’t try to make her into the damsel in distress, and through each new danger his love and devotion to her are clear to see. Together they make the cutest couple.

Of course the secondary characters are also pretty bad ass. Jules for one is worth mentioning, it was nice to see his own feelings finally voiced and I enjoyed the secrets that came out about Jean-Baptise, along with a few other revenants.

And while it was sad to see some characters die (it was a war after all), I felt each death was justified and that the author didn’t just go ‘killing happy’ as some seem prone to do.

Overall I just really loved this series. The idea of revenants is a unique paranormal aspect that has barely been done, and the explanations and histories offered up to the reader about their world bring in the elements of credibility that can help make you wonder, what if…

So to conclude I’m sad to see this series end yet have thoroughly enjoyed Kate and Vincent’s journey. Completely recommended, the revenants trilogy is one for all YA paranormal romance fans. I am also looking forward to seeing what Amy Plum will come up with next.

4 ½ stars!