Book Review: The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book: The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Published September 2019 by Wednesday Books|327 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Sky In The Deep #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

The Girl The Sea Gave Back was just okay for me.  It was something I struggled to get through, and I had a harder time with this book than I did with Sky In The Deep.

I felt so confused when I was reading it!  It felt like there were a lot of names and places I couldn’t keep track of, and I could not picture anything to save my life.

It didn’t help that I didn’t realize it was a companion to Sky In The Deep.  It focuses on different characters, and it’s set way later than Sky In The Deep.  You don’t need to read that one in order to read this one, because they are both stand-alones, but I do find myself wishing that I had.  And it’s pretty much so I could get back into this world, because I felt like it was very minimal.  That or I missed it because I couldn’t focus on the book.

This is a review I’m really struggling with.  As pretty as the cover is (and I tend to get lured in by pretty covers), this story was a struggle to get through.  I liked the idea of it, though, and there were some lines that really took me away.  I’m not someone who writes down quotes or anything like that, but there were a few I wanted to have written down in my notebook.

2 stars.  I struggled to get through this one, and I could only read a few chapters at a time.  It’s definitely not the story for me, but I’d still pick up the next book that Young comes out with.

Book Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Book: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Published April 2018 by Wednesday Books|340 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

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 die 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 neighbor 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 but 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 one 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 wasn’t sure about Sky In The Deep at first, but I’m glad I picked it up.  I ended up liking it more than I thought I would.

Something about the setting made me think of both Norse mythology and Iceland.  I’m not sure why, but it did.  I liked the setting, and the world is one that felt both familiar and different, in a good way.  I got a really good sense of the world that Eelyn lives in, and of course, I initially assumed it was the first book in a series.  Before realizing it was a stand alone, of course.  I’m always nervous about stand alone fantasy novels, because I’m never sure if the world will be explained well enough.  It was, though, and while you have the rival clans that band together to defeat a bigger rival, it worked really for both clans.

I think I did expect more than two clans who have quite a few different villages between them, but I think any more would have made things more complicated, so two worked out really well for this book.  There was distrust, of course- and that was set aside.  I think at least one more book could have expanded on the rivalry and the different relationships between the characters, but overall, I thought it was pretty good for just the one book.

There were some terms that popped up that I wasn’t sure of- I flipped to the back expecting a glossary, but there wasn’t one.  I was able to get the idea from the way other characters acted, so it wasn’t a huge deal.  And it is a stand alone, so in the end, it wasn’t that surprising.  It is on the short side, and I think maybe adding a little more to it might have helped.

I thought things were resolved pretty well, though some things were glossed over to get that resolution.  Again, not surprising, but that’s what I get for randomly deciding that I’m going to read a book without paying attention to what they’re about and if they’re part of a series.

I’m not really sure what else to say, so I think it’s time to move onto my rating of Sky In The Deep!

4 stars.  I really enjoyed Sky In The Deep, but I do wish it had been a little bit longer.