Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst is a compelling fantasy set in a desert kingdom.
spent years training to be the vessel of her clan's goddess. The years
of training culminate with the ritual dance that will call the goddess
Bayla to walk among her people. Liyana dances . . . but Bayla does not
come. Is Liyana an unfit vessel, or has Bayla turned her back on her
people? Either way, Liyana no longer has a place in her clan. Left
behind in the desert, Liyana prepares to struggle for survival, knowing
that she will probably die soon. But then Korbyn appears, looking for
her. Korbyn is the trickster god, summoned into his own clan's vessel,
and he explains to Liyana that Bayla and several other gods have been
trapped somehow, summoned into false vessels, unable to come to their
people. Liyana and Korbyn set out across the desert to find the other
vessels whose gods have been taken, and then to find out what has
entrapped the missing deities.
This book has a wonderful setting
and fantastic characters -- Liyana's no-nonsense attitude works so
beautifully with Korbyn's lighthearted demeanor, and the other vessels
are also distinct and interesting. I thought the plotting was mostly
strong, though the romantic subplot, especially the way it worked out,
was less than satisfying to me. That minor criticism aside, I still
completely enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to readers who like
YA fantasy, particularly fans of Tamora Pierce and Rae Carson.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)