Title: The Sky and the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Blurb (from Amazon):
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.
Review: The first time I picked up the book I wasn’t in the right mindset to read it, but the second time I flew through it, captivated, and so, so happy I did. Now I’m waiting eagerly for Young’s second book to come out!
Setting: I want to start with the setting for Sky in the Deep because it felt so real. Her world building, based on Norse Mythology/Culture/Geography/Languages was amazing. The images were so clear and vivid, heavily influenced by Nordic countries, Vikings, etc. It drew a beautiful picture of scenery and culture. The villages were so earthy. They way she created healers, the way the world used the roots and land. I just loved it.
Pacing: The book moved along quickly. You won’t have any trouble flipping pages.
Plot: The book had an intriguing concept from the get-go and set up an interesting conflict, both internal/external, emotional and physical. The MC, Rhen, watched her brother die in battle but then sees him in battle later–but fighting for the enemy. This creates all kinds of questions and puts her and us on a journey of answering them:
What do you do when you’re confronted with the opposite truth of everything you’ve been taught? Who really is the enemy?
Both Eelyn and her brother must deal with her brother’s lie and killing their own people. It’s intense and thought-provoking.
And of course, there is romance. Yay!
Characters/Voice: The MC was really interesting and I liked her. She had great agency and we could easily follow her. Her identity came mainly from being in war, battles, and fighting the enemy. You root for her in every way.
Themes: I think this book is really about finding faith. About growing up and figuring out what you actually believe. There are also themes of humanizing the enemy, and seeing them from new eyes.
Sensitivity: There are vivid descriptions of battles and violence.
Book Reviewer: Amaris Glass