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.I'm sorry, I'm going to need a moment. I had hoped that Vessel was going to be at least passably good. And it was. Better than passably good, actually. However, I didn't expect to be pulled into such a cascade of emotions!
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.
The book opens with Liyana as she watches her last sunrise. Every one hundred years, the gods of the land leave their world (called the Dreaming) and descend to earth to fill specially chosen people called vessels. They then use that body to perform miracles on behalf of their tribes to enable the people to live for the next one hundred years in the harsh desert. Liyana is her tribe's vessel and today is the day that she sacrifices her life for the sake of the tribe.
At least, that was the plan.
Emotion #8: Awe. I was saddened by things that happened to those whiny, awful vessels? Yes! Though they were annoying, they were still well-rounded people, and I felt their pain when certain events occurred. Yes, even when bad things happened to the drunken, selfish Raan. (Okay, ESPECIALLY when they happened to the drunken, selfish Raan.) Once I recognized my own emotional u-turn, I was awed at how easily I had been manipulated.
So there you have it. If you want a book with engaging characters, an original plot, and a beautiful setting, and you're in the mood to feeeeeel things, pick up Vessel ASAP.
Points Added For: Liyana and her awesomeness, Jidali, the desert setting, deftly unraveling the conflict between individual needs and communal needs, a fantastic mythology.
Points Subtracted For: Several plot holes, a not-entirely-believable romance.
Good For Fans Of: Mythology, polytheistic societies, clever and practical heroines with a plan.
Notes For Parents: Violence, death, kissing. (Possibly language, but I don't remember.)