“We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.”
An action packed YA fantasy novel, Young’s standalone viking inspired novel is a page turner with a number of twists and turns. Though in a fantasy setting, Young ties in an abundance of lessons for all readers to learn; from acceptance to forgiveness, Sky in the Deep is an inspirational novel that paves the way to a new outlook on fantasy literature.
Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: 2018
Format: Hardcover (OwlCrate Special Edition)
Seventeen-year-old Eelyn’s world is war. Raised to fight alongside her Aska clansmen in a generations-old blood feud against the Riki, 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 if she wants to make it back to the fjord after the thaw. But when she begins to see herself in the people she’s been taught to hate, the world Eelyn once knew begins to crumble. And after the village is raided by a ruthless clan many believe to be a myth, Eelyn is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend who has tried more than once to kill her. Together, they must end the blood feud between their clans or watch their people be slaughtered.
A lush, Viking-age inspired fantasy about loyalty, forgiveness, and the definition of family.
As part of the “Fight Like A Girl” OwlCrate box, this book did NOT disappoint! I was NOT expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. It’s been a long time since I felt this uncontrollable urge and desire to finish a novel and disregard all my other responsibilities in life. Young captivates readers through her beautifully descriptive language and intensity throughout the story. There are some rather “graphic” sections beyond the fighting scenes, such as sexual assault. However, these sections were not tactless but rather delicate…in the best way possible for those kinds of topics.
Young’s book is literally PAINFUL to put down…even though you don’t want to rush it since you don’t want it to end.
Lovable and deep characters
The amount of depth to Young’s characters is truly spectacular. Recall the last time you read a book and truly forgot it was a novel…that the characters are CHARACTERS…when that line between fiction and reality becomes blurred…THAT is the feeling you feel with these characters. Eelyn wasn’t just a fictional character in a book; she felt like this real person that I personally knew and felt for. I felt like this with a large number of the characters, such as her brother Iri and much more.
Young’s characters are constantly growing in this novel, showing an incredible amount of both talents and flaws. Each individual has some struggle or trial they’re trying to overcome throughout the story, whether that be trust or forgiveness or open-mindedness. What’s even better is you feel some sort of closure for the characters near the end; not that “happily ever after” unrealistic shenanigans, but the realistic “it’s not perfect but it’s so much better than before” shenanigans.
Equal parts story and character driven
Story Driven? Character Driven? Why not have a bit of both! As I read Sky in the Deep, I never felt as though one overtook the other. There’s a GREAT deal that focuses on character growth, especially Eelyn and her need to forgive, trust, and let go. On the other hand, there’s a great presence to story development, focusing on the lives of the two clans and the trials each faces. It’s this constant overlapping that allows Young’s story to flow so smoothly, you don’t realize you’ve almost finished the novel.
Beautifully and hauntingly descriptive
You don’t require a large imagination to image the landscape, characters, and events occurring in Young’s novel…she paints the image FOR YOU. From small details regarding scars and hair pieces to epic and bloody battle scenes, Young creates a film in your mind simply through the use of “words”. Though I tend to “scan” overly descriptive novels, I NEVER did as I read Sky in the Deep…not once! She has an unbelievable gift to perfectly describe a setting or scene or person “just” enough without overdoing it…thank goodness!
Attentive to historical content…yet still unique
Adrienne Young has commented on her research towards Viking history for her novel, and it truly shows as you read through it. Her attention to “… clothing, landscape, buildings, weapons, food, etc.” is remarkable, beautifully and accurately depicting the viking visage throughout the novel. Though the concept of the gods and the traditions are rather different, it gives Young’s novel that extra “something” to make it special and stand out brighter than a large number of YA fantasy novels presently and in the past. The battle between clans, the impending doom of a greater foe, the heartache and confusion with faith, the five years wars…Young’s own ideas intertwined with the Viking elements is truly authentic and original.
A likable strong female lead
If Eelyn were real, I’d want to be her best friend. Young made sure to give Eelyn both a number of great qualities and flaws. Eelyn is a skilled fighter with amazing attention to detail on the battlefield; even though she can grow nervous, she remains calm and focuses on the NOW. There’s FIRE in her spirit, which is commented on a number of times in the story. Eelyn does have a hard time with forgiveness, which is her biggest challenge in the story. What’s wonderful is that she’s FULLY aware of this and doesn’t pretend to be this “perfect” individual.
Some parts felt rushed
Though the content is incredible, there are a few sections that felt a little rushed. In the synopsis, there’s talk about a “feud” to mend or everyone will be slaughtered by this thought to be mythical clan. THIS part was not long enough whatsoever. A large portion of the novel focuses on Eelyn’s captivity in the opposing clan. I thoroughly enjoyed this section and would not make it any short; however, the need to stop the feud and fight a new foe didn’t really appear until beyond the half mark of the novel. I was anticipating more “tension” and “battles”, both between the two clans and among the new enemy. Young’s novel could’ve easily been more than 500 pages long and still been a page turner read while focusing more on this “strive to get along and fight the bad guys” part of the plot.
Young’s Sky in the Deep has become one of my favourite reads of 2018. Full of epic and bloody battles with an intense amount of emotional growth, Young provides a great number of themes in her novel for all readers to enjoy. Though I felt some parts were “rushed”, a large part of this was simply my desire to have MORE from this fantastical story. If you’re looking for a viking based story with a great amount of story and character driven elements…AND a strong female lead…Young’s novel may be for you.