On The Back: Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe’s 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 goddess has not come. Her tribe is furious – and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die n 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 so her tribe can live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate – or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
Why I Chose It: After reading The Legacy Trilogy by Cayla Kluver I wanted to read more of the Harlequin Teen novels – this was first on the list!
Right from the beginning of the book I loved Liyana. Here is a girl that, despite not wanting to die, has resigned herself to death for her tribe. She knows that the only way for her goddess Bayla to come to Earth and protect their tribe is for her to give up her body. The book begins on the day that she is supposed to die, and you get to watch her say her goodbyes to everyone that she will never see again. Yet she didn’t hesitate at all before entering into a tribal circle and dancing to summon Bayla, and I really liked her strength.
After being banished Liyana meets Korbyn, and their friendship was quite delightful. I really like the conversations that they have, because you get to learn more about the gods and how they interact. Liyana’s tribe share stories about the gods as lessons, but Korbyn reveals that these stories are based on facts, things that have actually happened among the gods. As someone who loves mythology, hearing stories about a new set of gods was really interesting, and I liked hearing Korbyn tell the stories, while being able to see how Liyana reacts to them.It’s also really interesting because each tribe has a different god that they follow, so as Liyana meets more tribes, different customs are shown and different stories are told. I found it was a very vibrant culture, and I loved that there was a window into the world of the gods to see how they live.
I also really liked the setting for this book. The desert is harsh, but I do find that Liyana sees a beauty in the place that is her home – particularly when she comes back to the desert after being away. Plus there are some pretty interesting critters, like the saltworms, and which were disgusting but cool how they reacted to water. There are also the mystic creatures like sand wolves that Liyana comes across and has to fight for her life against. The wolves were terrifying, but I loved them!
Finally, there’s the magic. The gods have access to magic, and although it’s against the rules, Korybyn teaches Liyana to use the magic too. I liked that the magic wasn’t the main focus of the story, but rather just part of Korbynn’s every day life, and that although Liyana is learning to use it, it does not become the focus of her life but rather a tool she is using to achieve her end goals. I am amazed that Liyana never stops thinking of herself as Bayla’s vessel. Even as her desire to live grows throughout the book, so does her determination to find and restore Bayla. Her inner conflict is huge, but I was so impressed with her strength and determination. This book pretty much has it all; god system, strong culture, magic, interesting landscape, and conflict with other cultures. I would definitely recommend reading it!
Rating: 5 / 5
P.S: I also love that cover! Beautiful!