I was lucky enough to receive The Girl the Sea Gave Back from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, however when I requested the book I didn’t actually know that this was the second book that Adrienne Young had written. Therefore, I got myself out to Waterstones sharpish and bought a copy of Sky in the Deep so I could get it read before The Girl the Sea Gave Back. My review is now up and can be seen here.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
UK Publication: March 2019
Content warnings for the book: Animal sacrifice / extreme violence / suicidal thoughts / sexual harassment
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen – year – old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield – her brother, fighting with the enemy – the brother she watched died five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice by to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Sky in the Deep, I found it difficult to put down and I became very invested in the main characters and their lives. This book is Viking-esque and set in an unknown country. The Aka and the Riki meet every 5 years to fight each other in battle. We are introduced to our main character Eelyn at the start of one of these battles.
Eelyn is captured and taken back to a Riki village and is lucky to be kept alive. She is a real powerhouse of a character, she stays true to who she is and fights every step of the way. Eeyln really develops as a character throughout the book, we see some of her hard edges softening and the relationships that she develops are believable. We are introduced to a lot of characters throughout the book, but we don’t get to know any as well as we get to know Eeyln but those few characters who do become a key part of Eeyln’s life are fairly well developed and it is good to get an insight into their lives. I did wish that we got to know some of the other characters more as everything was seen through Eelyn’s eyes, and she didn’t care to find out much about the other characters surrounding her which I understand in terms of the storyline, but I still felt like it would have been nice to have found out just that bit more about the other characters involved in the story.
This book takes place in just a few key locations, this is not a book if you have to have detailed world building in your books. This is not a book that is full of detailed world building. We find out about a few key locations as Eelyn experiences and describes them and we find out snippets of information about the Gods and the history of the different clans as the information is relevant. I found this quite refreshing actually as it felt like I found out what I needed to know, and didn’t become confused with information that I didn’t need to know and could focus in on the characters and their story, although I am a huge fan of detailed world building too! For some, however, this will not satisfy as some readers need and like a detailed level of world building to help them enjoy the book.
I finished reading Sky in the Deep really quickly and I was pleased that I had a copy of the Girl the Sea Gave Back as I was eager to get reading it. Sky in the Deep was a quick and enjoyable read, and has left me wanting to find some more Viking inspired books if anyone has any recommendations?
Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think? Is it on your TBR?