SKY IN THE DEEP
Written by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books, April 24, 2018
My star rating: 4.25 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
Wow! I REALLY enjoyed this one! But for reasons that I never expected. From the synopsis, I knew that we were dealing with vikings and trained warriors. I fully expected characters with hard lives, brutal fighting, and all the dark and hard things. Yes, there’s all of that, but it was their traditions and the writing that captured my heart.
First of all, this isn’t your typical fast action fantasy. This is more of a slow burning story filled with rich atmosphere. And it was the atmosphere that will leave a lasting impression on me. It still had all the elements that I was anticipating – the fighting, the brutality, and bad-assery. But this was so much more than I expected. I felt like I could see and feel everything that was happening. And the atmosphere created more of an emotional connection. At times, it was a little slower than I would have liked though. But even still, when nothing seemed to be happening, it was still stacking pieces of the puzzle and keeping me interested through character development and world building.
Along the same lines, I absolutely love her writing! It flowed consistently and just felt so smooth. There were consistent rises and falls throughout that made me always want more. She wrote very descriptively and it never felt forced. She was able to write a brutal writing scene with descriptions that were bone chilling (no pun intended), and in the next chapter she created a beautiful atmosphere, all with flawless transition. There was just the right balance between it all. This book very much reminded me of Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn as far as the writing, the ability to invoke emotion, the balance, and the atmosphere.
My absolute FAVOURITE part was the traditions and ceremonies!!! This was so amazing! We have the Aska clan and the Riki clan. They’ve been rivals for many years and it’s basically built into their blood. Each of these clans has their own traditions with everything; the gods they worship, their ways of life, hunting, death, birth, and everything in between. Some are only subtle differences while others are totally different. But because Eelyn was of the Aska clan and was taken by the Riki’s, we were able to see both the traditions on a parallel. She was experiencing these new traditions while at the same time comparing them to her own and flashing back to traditions she experienced in her life time. It was absolutely gorgeous and sucked me in completely. These traditions showed their history, love, devotion, loyalty, family ties, and connections. These traditions were sometimes beautiful and sometimes brutal. But I couldn’t get enough of them.
The only thing that I wasn’t 100% on board with was the romance. I actually liked Eelyn and her love interest together. They made a smart match and have a lot that ties them together. But it was way too rushed and there wasn’t enough that tied their romantic connection together for it to make complete sense to me. It felt too rushed and insta-loveish. One minute they feel nothing and the next minute they’re kissing. It felt out of place and strange. But, having said that, I still like them together so I wasn’t too mad about it.
I absolutely recommend this book! It was a richly written combination of Jay Kristoff mixed with Reneé Ahdieh, and full of atmosphere! Thanks so much to Raincoast Books and Wednesday Books for the chance to read and review this fantastic novel!
Until next time, happy reading!