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Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth DurstSarah Beth Durst grew up in Northboro, MA, a town in central Massachusetts which (she claims) was temporarily transformed into a fairy tale kingdom for several days in 1986. These events later inspired her novels as well as her paralyzing fear of glass footwear. Sarah has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old. She holds an English degree from Princeton University and currently resides in Stony Brook, NY, with her husband and daughter. Visit Sarah Beth Durst’s website.

The Lost

The Lost — (2014) Publisher: Brilliantly riveting. * Thought-provoking and stirring. ** Award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst has been praised for her captivating novels that merge the darkly imagined with very real themes of self-discovery and destiny. In The Lost, we’ll discover just what it means to lose one’s way…. It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she’s going to have to figure out just what she’s missing—and what she’s running from—before she can leave. So now Lauren’s on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be found…. Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman’s impossible journey…and her quest to find her fate.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

The Lost: Durst’s first foray into adult fiction

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The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

You never know what Sarah Beth Durst is going to do next. Fairy tales mixed with science? Vampires and unicorns? Gods taking over human bodies? Creepy carnivals? She’s done all of that and more, and with The Lost, Durst begins another story that, just like her previous novels, is completely different from what has gone before.

Lauren Chase took to the open road to get away, just for a little while, from the prospect of bad news about her mother’s health. Instead she found herself caught in a dust storm and then stuck in a town called Lost. People and things that are “lost” to the outside world find their way here, and no one can leave until the Missing Man allows them to go home. But something goes terribly wrong when the Missing Man meets Lauren, and now the townspeople of Lost are convinced Lauren has driven away their only hope. Now, with ... Read More

The Queen of Blood: A solid, dramatic opening

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Reposting to include Jana's new review.

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood (2016) is the first book in an epic fantasy series by Sarah Beth Durst, THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA. Durst seems to be able to write whatever she sets her mind to: YA, urban fantasy, or dark fairy tales. The Queen of Blood is a briskly-paced story that introduces us to an original fantasy world with some unusual magical powers.

Daleina lives with her parents and little sister in one of the “outer villages” in the great forests of the kingdom of Aratay. The forest is filled with nature spirits: air, water, ice, earth, fire and wood. These spirits are not friendly. Their instinct is to kill humans, but the powe... Read More

Ice: Cassie is not one of those passive YA heroines

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Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Cassie doesn’t believe in fairy tales. Sure, Gram used to tell her that bedtime story about how Cassie’s mother was stolen away by the North Wind and imprisoned by trolls. But Cassie, who lives with her scientist father at a research station in the Arctic, has every intention of following in Dad’s logical, analytical footsteps. She has no time for fantasy. And besides, as she grew older, she realized that “stolen by the North Wind” was just a euphemism for “died.”

Or was it?

On her eighteenth birthday, Cassie tracks a polar bear into the icy wastes, intending to tag it for research. When it escapes by walking through a wall of ice, she realizes it’s no ordinary bear — and when she describes it to Dad, he panics. Turns out the story was true, and now Cassie is fated to become the polar bear’s bride.

She doesn’t go... Read More

Enchanted Ivy: Delivers on all accounts

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Enchanted Ivy by Sara Beth Durst

One problem I often have with contemporary fantasy is its tendency to ignore the magic of the world around us in its longing for something Other. Enchanted Ivy avoids this problem by striking a nice balance. There’s certainly a great deal of otherworldly magic, as evidenced by the dragons and faeries and talking gargoyles and cute were-tiger boys. Yet I got a real sense that all this magic was inspired by the feelings the campus of Princeton genuinely evoked in Durst. I can actually picture the author looking at the great old buildings and the gargoyles and imagining they could come to life at any second. Otherworldly magic inspired by a place that is, to the author, already magical. So to speak.

Although Enchanted Ivy’s cast of characters don’t entirely jump off the page, they’r... Read More

Drink, Slay, Love: Amusing YA

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Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink, Slay, Love is a good example of what young adult urban fantasy can be. It's funny, it's light, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and most importantly, there is actually more to the story than just how handsome everyone is. Sarah Beth Durst strikes a good balance between adventure and emotional angst.

Pearl is a young vampire. Sounds kind of funny to think that someone who is undead could be young, but in the world of Drink, Slay, Love the possibility to be born as a vampire exists. Pearl is living the young vampire life, hunting for humans to feed on, keeping up her combat skills to defend herself, flirting with the uber-hot male vampire and learning how to live within the rules of her race.

Then Pearl is almost killed by a unicorn. She survives, and begins... Read More

Vessel: One of the best of the year

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Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

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 the goddess has found Liyana unworthy, her clan abandons her to the elements, but soon she is found by the incarnate god Korbyn, who has shocking news for her. Five of the desert deities have been magically imprisoned, including Bayla, hence why she never appeared to claim Liyana’s body.

Now Liyana must help Korbyn find the other four vessels, trav... Read More

Conjured: The Sarah Beth Durst book for Laini Taylor fans

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Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

I want to live in Sarah Beth Durst’s brain. Every time I turn around, she has a new book out, and it’s completely different from the last one. Her imagination is seemingly boundless. Another thing I appreciate about her books is that they stand alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good series as much as the next girl, but there’s also something to be said for a self-contained novel.

Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, provided the front cover blurb for Conjured, and I can’t think of anyone more fitting. I’d call Conjured “the Sarah Beth Durst book for Laini Taylor fans.” In a few of its broad lines (girl in our world who is threatened by secrets from a parallel, dreamlike world), it’s similar to Daughter of Smoke and B... Read More

The Girl Who Could Not Dream: Dreams come true… with rainbows and teeth

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The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

Monsters, glittery flying ponies, ninja bunnies and other fantastical creatures inhabit the pages of The Girl Who Could Not Dream, Sarah Beth Durst’s enchanting new middle grade fantasy adventure novel. Sophie’s parents own a secretive dream shop, where you can buy bottled dreams or ― if you prefer more frightening adventures ― nightmares. (It’s like reading a Stephen King novel, only more immersive.) Her family uses woven dreamcatchers to capture other peoples' dreams, and then her parents distill the dreams into liquid form, bottle them and sell them to customers.

Because Sophie has never had a dream of her own, when she was six years ... Read More

More novels by Sarah Beth Durst

Into the Wild — (2007-2008) Ages 9-12. Publisher: The Wild is a fairy-tale world — at least it was until the fairy-tale characters escaped — but lately it’s just a mass of hungry vines stuffed under Julie’s bed. Julie, her mom Rapunzel (yep, that Rapunzel — think long hair, tower, prince), and her brother Puss-in-Boots (okay, he’s a cat) do their best to keep it hidden and under control. But Julie’s sick of living with the Wild — it eats her jeans and sneakers whenever it wants! Junior high is tough enough, even with a normal family. When someone makes a dangerous wish that sets the Wild free, it grows and grows and quickly begins to devour Julie’s entire Massachusetts town. The Wild is hungry, and this time it wants its characters back for good. Julie must venture deep into the Wild and outsmart wicked witches, feisty giants, and super-cute princes in the ultimate quest to save her family. She fights her way to the heart of the fairy tale and discovers she must risk everything or lose her chance to live in the real world… and if Julie can’t find a way to defeat the happily-ever-after, she’ll never see her family again. Sarah Beth Durst weaves a postmodern fairy tale that’s fresh, funny, and sweetly poignant.

children's fantasy  book reviews Sarah Beth Durst Into the Wild, Out of the Wildchildren's fantasy  book reviews Sarah Beth Durst Into the Wild, Out of the Wild


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Chasing Power — (2014) Publisher: Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind—things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers—and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both. When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel—a boy with the ability to teleport—he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family—and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE BOOKS BY SARAH BETH DURST.


FanLit Asks: September 11, 2012

Five of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any personal news to share?
Sarah Beth DurstMy next YA novel, Vessel, comes out from Simon & Schuster/McElderry today. It's about a girl who lives in a harsh desert land and is destined to sacrifice herself so her clan's goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes. It recently received a starred review in Kirkus. (Yay!) Also, I sold three new books! They're my first books for adults: The Lost, The Missing, and The Found, and I'm really excited about them. Also recently, a bunch people in California parked a car on Mars, took some photos, and send them back, which I'm claiming as personal news because I stayed up late to watch it. Actually, I think Curiosity on Mars counts a... Read More

FanLit Asks: October 2, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share?
Steven R. Boyett: I'm excited that I will be reading at the opening weekend of San Francisco's massive Litquake festival, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2-3 PM. I usually record these things, so it will be on the media page of my blog soon afterward. In my mortal guise I'm also a semi-famous DJ, and I'm also hugely stoked that I'll be DJing the Litquake/Litcrawl closing party at  Read More

FanLit Asks: October 23, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share?
Morgan Keyes (Mindy Klasky)Darkbeast hit stores on August 28 -- it's a traditional middle grade fantasy novel about a girl who has to choose between saving her best friend (a raven) and following the religious expectations of her people. I'll be making a number of personal appearances (check out my website -- and I am always happy to make school visits (in person, if close enough, or by Skype.)


Michael J. Sullivan: I'm pleased to announce that I'll have a new series coming out from Orbit called THE RIYRIA CHRONICLES. These will be prequels that explore how Royce and Hadrian first met an... Read More

Marion and Terry report on the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend

The 48th Annual Nebula Awards weekend was held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the San Jose Convention Center in northern California from May 17 through 19, 2013. Terry Weyna and I, who both live in Northern California and both are aspiring writers, decided to see what a bunch of published writers get up to when they party together.

Gene Wolfe and Teri Goulding



Marion Deeds: I think what surprised me most is how light on programming the weekend was. I thought there would be sessions about the nuts and bolts of a writing career, but I guess that SFWA members already have a pretty good idea about that. Still, I thought we’d hear about things like the new Amazon publishing arms, the Night Shade Books mess, that sort of thing.

Terry Weyn... Read More

Sarah Beth Durst asks “Why do you read?”

We've got Sarah Beth Durst with us today, author of several books we love. I'm currently enjoying her new book, Conjured, which will be released next week. Sarah's got a fundamentally important question for you. 



So here's something I've been thinking about a lot lately... Why do people read?

I have my big-picture generic answer, of course: we read because we need stories as desperately as we need air, food, and water. Stories are how we process, cope with, and/or escape from the world. Whether they're told by friends, inside books, on TV, or whatever, they're how we connect with other people, understand our past, and prepare for the future.

Plus, they're awesome.

But on an individual level... Why do people read?

I think that the reason differs from person to person, and that it can be differe... Read More

Sarah Beth Durst asks, “What have you lost?”

Fantasy Literature welcomes back Sarah Beth Durst, whose new novel, The Lost, is out this week. I'm currently reading The Lost and really enjoying it — it's eerie, and filled with mysteries. In the spirit of The Lost, Sarah has a question for you. One commenter (U.S. address) will win a signed copy of The Lost. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

My question for you this Thursday is: What have you lost that you'd like to find?

I've lost earrings — a little silver gecko, a blue butterfly. When I was in college, I sold my Barbie mobile home in a yard sale. Always regretted not saving that and giving it to family instead of letting a stranger have it for a few quarters. I've lost friendships, frayed by distance and time, that I wish I could have back. I've lost memories — events that are hazy or only rememb... Read More

Writing for Kids

Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers. My guest today is Sarah Beth Durst. Durst is the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including (click link to read our reviews) ConjuredVessel, and Ice. Her new middle-grade novel, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, which Read More