Thursday, April 26, 2018

Quick Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

Sky in the Deep was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it did not disappoint! From the first chapter, in which Eelyn fights as viciously as any man against her clan's enemies and is shocked to see her long-dead brother on the battlefield, I could not put it down.

I am foregoing a plot recap since the book description sums it up perfectly, but I will tell you that this book is not for the faint of heart. (We are talking about Vikings, after all.) Eelyn's world is vicious and brutal--I mean, the girl pull's a dude's eye out--but it's also beautiful and full of wonder and awe-inspiring sites. From Eleyn's beloved village on the fjord to the mountain forest home of the Riki, it's a treat for the senses for anyone who appreciates the raw, and sometimes dangerous, beauty of nature. And the scene in which we realize the meaning of the title is gorgeous.

It's also an examination of human nature and our indomitable willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, even when that means coming to terms with the fact that our enemies are not so very different from ourselves. The story sports a well-rounded cast of supporting characters from both clans, and ah, Fiske, Eelyn's enemy turned lover, the strong and silent type I adore so.

I can't quite put my finger on why this ended up not being a five-star read for me. I think perhaps the momentum fizzled a bit toward the end, and after so much adversity and trauma, things seemed to fall into place a tad too easily. But I enjoyed every minute of it.

In the tradition of Ivory and Bone and And I Darken (two books that both made my "best of" lists in the years they were published), Sky in the Deep is another fabulous entry into gritty, immersive, action-packed YA historical fiction.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

*Please Note: This review references an advance digital copy received from the publisher via NetGalley, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, my review is voluntary and these are my honest and unbiased thoughts. I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.

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