Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
From Goodreads: 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.
Hey there everyone, happy Monday (I’m laughing because that also happens to be the name of a band I really like). To kick off the week, I’m bringing you a review of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young.
First up, I am dying for the Viking feel of this book. I was obsessed with it when I stumbled across Beyond A Darkened Shore last year, and I’ve loved this type of setting ever since. There’s just something so awesome and warrior-like about it, that it makes my toes curl.
The book starts out on a high note, with Eelyn and her friend and father poised to battle their bitter enemies. I’m not entirely sure what they’re fighting for, except that they’re rivals and hate each other, so I’m kinda sold here even if I don’t really understand. There’s a lot of action in the first chapters, a lot to hook in readers, and I enjoyed being ensnared by it. And there’s also some big plot developments, which, even when I saw them coming, it did make me very tense, and I was determined to find out what happened next.
The plot slows down quite a bit after that, and there are moments where it feels like it gets a bit stuck, but I will say that it’s a pretty short book, so it never gets lost for too long. And between the fighting and raids, we do get some character development. I love the Riki family Eelyn winds up living with. The mother is so fierce and yet loving, and you can tell she’d sacrifice anything for her children. Halvard is just straight up adorable and was my connection to this book, if we’re being honest.
I got less of a sense of Eelyn, although I did get the impression that she was strong and intelligent and a survivor. Which I felt was okay, although I wanted a little more from a protagonist. Fiske isn’t really in it for me, and Eelyn’s brother is kind of meh. He never gets much to say or do, so he’s one of those main characters who comes across as more of a side character, if that makes sense.
This lack of development with some of the characters was somewhat of a problem when it came to the romance. I know a lot of people have hailed it as a glorious hate to love thing, and there’s even some goodreads reviews which called it a slow-burn, but personally it wasn’t there for me. It felt a little instalove even, because for most of the plot the characters don’t interact much and then boom they suddenly can’t keep their hands off each other. It didn’t grab me or make me swoon, and honestly it felt like one of those rare moments in YA where I’d rather the author would have left the romance out of the book altogether. Normally, I’m a BIG fan of love in books, and I adore a good swoon, but this just felt like a ‘more is less’ kind of story.
The world-building is pretty good, even if it errs on the side of a bit sparse sometimes. I liked reading about the different Gods and Goddesses, and how the different clans interact with each other and all the history between them. As I said earlier, hating each other seemed a bit of a random reason to fight, but I get that they’re basically Vikings and that raiding and fighting is a huge thing for them. I thought the author understood that well, and it factored into the world building and the culture nicely, so I enjoyed that element of it a lot.
Overall, I’m giving Sky in the Deep a 7/10 stars. The writing was quick to follow, and though the plot did get a little stagnant in places, it was a short enough book that I didn’t really notice too much. I wasn’t a fan of the romantic elements in the narrative at all, and wished it had been removed entirely, but I did like the characters a lot and I low-key hope Adrienne might return to this world at some point, because I’d like to see more.
Has anyone else read this book already or plans to? What do you all think of it? Let me know in the comment section down below ❤