Liyana is the vessel of her tribe. She has prepared her entire life to receive the goddess Bayla and die. On the night of the goddesses arrival she prepares herself, she says goodbye to her family and she dances for Bayla. But Bayla never comes. She has forsaken Liyana and her tribe. The tribe leaves Liyana in the desert. She believes she will die and is willing. Then Korbyn walks out of the desert. He is the trickster god and has successfully inhabited his vessel. He tells Liyana that several of the gods have been kidnapped, including Bayla. They must find the empty vessels and rescue the gods. Liyana and Korbyn travel the desert in search of the other clans and their vessels. Along the way they pick up Fennick of the Horse clan, Pia of the Silk clan and Raan of the Scorpion clan. Together they must find their gods and bring them back to the desert. For the desert clans are suffering from a Great Drought and only the gods can restore life to the desert.
I loved this book. I devoured it in one sitting. I loved the desert setting and the clans/tribes who inhabit it. I really enjoyed that they were all different and you could see the difference in the vessels. Fennick is gruff but has a good heart, Pia is the princess of her tribe, seems spoiled but is really the purest soul, Raan fights against her fate and her goddess. But my favorite characters were definitely Liyana and Korbyn. I love how their relationship develops and how they must also deal with Bayla. She is the goddess who will inhabit Liyana but also Korbyn’s love. As their relationship deepens it just gets more complicated. I really enjoyed Liyana’s journey through this book. She starts out as a willing sacrifice for her goddess and her clan and as the journey progresses she starts to question her faith and purpose; she develop talents and skills of her own. She becomes so strong at the end that you are rooting for her to remain instead of Bayla.
I think my only issue with this book, and it is a minor one, is the Crescent Empire. I didn’t feel like the emperor was as fleshed out or his motives as clear. I was actually kind of surprised at the relationship between the emperor and Liyana. I didn’t see it and wasn’t sure how it developed. But all of that doesn’t take away from the magnificence of this book. It is a wonderful fantasy adventure novel.