Book Review: Sky in the Deep

sky in the deepSky in the Deep
by Adrienne Young
335 pages
Published April 2018

Sky in the Deep came out in April to a LOT of hype. It’s mostly deserved. The plot is a little odd; the two clans come together every five years to fight in a blood feud between their gods. But they only fight every five years in a designated place – if you really hated each other, why wouldn’t you try to wipe out the other tribe all the time, instead of letting them rebuild their strength for five years? And then this third, mysterious tribe shows up and is enough for you to set aside all your anger at each other? I don’t know. It’s a little weird.

That oddness aside, I loved this story! I loved Eelyn’s fierceness, and also her willingness to see the Riki as people too. Eventually, of course. In Eelyn we have the definition of a strong female character. (She’s not the only one, either!) She is admired for her fierceness and strength, but not seen as any less female. Women are warriors in her culture too.

It’s a pretty straightforward book, with a few graphic scenes of violence in the fights. Everything happened pretty much as I expected it to, but I still enjoyed seeing Eelyn grow and change throughout the book. It’s also very atmospheric; I could almost hear the snow crunching beneath boots, the rushing roar of the mountain river, the quiet creaking of the frozen lake. Young’s writing style pulls you right into the book and doesn’t let you go.

Set aside your questions about the plot’s logic and just enjoy this book. It’s wonderful.

From the cover of Sky in the Deep:

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings – and all heart

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.

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