“We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.”
Read in June 2018
My Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars
There are days like that when I am just craving to read a standalone YA fantasy (and trust me it happens to me pretty often). I really feel like those tend to become real unicorns, and we got the perfect example here. It took me one full year to review Sky in the Deep, which was most probably meant to be a standalone in the first place, and now I see a sequel is coming September 2019. Don’t get me wrong, series are great but they demand investment and time I don’t always have, hence my need for standalones. However, I went in this with very high expectations – I mean, Viking-inspired tale, with ruthless and badass warrior MC – and this book blew them out of the water. That being said, it’s time to give you guys a proper review.
In Sky in the Deep we follow Eelyn, a fierce Aska warrior. Her clan is at war with the Riki because they worship different god, they are bound to fight every five years to defend their god’s honour, and their hatred for each other grows, strengthened by years of losses and deaths. Five years ago, during their previous fight against the Riki, Eelyn witnessed her brother, Iri, deadly injured, falling off a cliff and was forced to run away, leaving him dying alone. She has spent the following years haunted, grieving over his death and holding on to her grudge. Today is the day to finally get revenge since the Riki and the Aska are finally going to confront again, and despite an injury from a previous battle, Eelyn is more determinate than ever to fight. For her clan, for her father – her only remaining family – and for her lost brother.
“It was what we’d been taught our entire lives—vegr yfir fjor—honor above life.”
During that battle she is separated from her fighting partner, her best friend, she severely injured, cornered and about to get killed. She is saved in-extremis by her brother. He is now fighting alongside the Riki and for her, it’s the worst treason. After all, her Clan motto is ‘honor above life’. She is taken captive and enslaved to serve the family Iri’s now considering as his own. But the longer she spends time with them the more she realises that they are more similar than she thought, including a common enemy, the Herja, an enemy so terrifying and powerful that both clans, and many others, will perish at its hands, just like Eelyn’s mother did all those years ago.
Aaaand, I’ll stop there for the story itself. I know you must have so many questions; why did her brother change side? How will she manage to survive in a place full of people she was bread to kill? But now you have to dive into this book and see for yourself. But I can tell you some more without giving away spoilers:
★ Adrienne Young’s writing is gorgeous and her descriptions are so vivid. For instance, when she described the cold fjord I actually felt it, she remembered every detail from the clothing to hard life of those who live with such extreme temperatures. Another example, when they talk about injuries, they are taken seriously and mentioned through the book. It made the characters more relatable and it made the story complete and very enjoyable.
★ Even if the story is more character-driven than action-driven, the battle scenes were epic and perfectly written, some expert author can’t manage those and yet despite being a debut novel, Sky in the Deep excelled at those. Furthermore, the world-building and the pacing were close to perfect.The story is original, I don’t think I can compare this book to any other YA fantasy I’ve ever read before, and that was refreshing.
★ EVERY 👏 SINGLE 👏 RELATIONSHIPS. They were just so on point. From the father/daughter & brother/sister relationship, how her family is both her strength and her weakness, to the best-friendship or the slow burn romance (be prepared for my forever favourite enemies-to-lovers trope). Despite the sometimes violence of this book, the romance/bromance/whatevermance remained so sweet and compelling.
“My heart pulsed in my veins as the fear pressed down on me, making me feel heavier. It was terrifying—that feeling—like there was something tying me to him. Because if one of us fell into the darkness, the other would too.”
Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?