Review: Adrienne Young's Epic YA Viking Fantasy 'Sky In The Deep'

 Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young Book Cover

Summary

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. 

Book Details

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Vikings
Published April 24th 2018 by Wednesday Books
Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

 

My Review

Raw, vivid, gritty and beautiful — SKY IN THE DEEP is Amazing!

Brutal, vivid and filled with gritty action, Adrienne Young's debut novel SKY IN THE DEEP is a Viking fantasy featuring one of the fiercest female warriors I have come across recently in young adult literature. Eelyn is not your average heroine. Friends, you are going to fall hard for her. 

From the very first pages, the setting comes alive with its richly crafted world.

Viking enthusiast will feel like they are transported to Evelyn's world. From the deep valley fjords to the forested mountains, you can smell the pine and smoke, feel the crunch of snow and taste the cooper of battle and bloodshed. 

Every five years, we lost those we loved. And we spent five years counting the days to the moment we could make the Riki pay for our pain.

The writing is simply amazing. Well paced and with a straightforward plot, the novel does waste time on a convoluted story. 

Instead, it steadily builds delicious tension; this is a book you will not want to put down due to the page-turning addiction it creates. I love the sharp contrast between the lyrical way Young describes the landscape with the gritty and brutal moments of battle. There are moments of stabbing and bloodshed and beautiful moments of ritual, and everyday life of the Aska and Riki—painting a vivid picture for readers.

Eelyn is a protagonist that completely steals the show—sweeping the reader along her heart-rendering journey.

Rarely do we really get such a layered and well-written heroine in a YA novel, let alone a debut. She is a warrior of honor, strength, and heart. I loved just how fierce she is mentally and physically. She can strategize with the best of the warriors, her fellow fighting mates.

Young creates this tough yet vulnerable character in Eelyn.

We see the hurt and betrayal she feels towards her brother after she discovers he is not dead but instead living with the enemy, and the heavy burden it creates, causing her to take up his mantle in order to protect her father. I also enjoyed seeing the strong love Eelyn shares with her father. And, Mýra—her friend and fighting mate, is a great example of positive female friendship. I want her in my life!

I TRIED TO REMEMBER WHO I WAS.
STRONG. BRAVE. FIERCE. SURE.

I tried to summon her to me—that Eelyn who would choose her people over anything else. I searched for her within myself, but she was different now. I was different. And it was something already done. Something I couldn’t change.

Get ready for the feels!

When taken by the Riki, Eelyn is made a slave but gradually gains trust, sometimes the hard way, of its clan members. She also begins to see that their people share many commonalities. She also sees the losses they share. This causes so many conflicting emotions in Eelyn that are so palpable. 

There is this terrific, slow-build, romantic tension that made me swoon several times.

For all its fierceness, SKY IN THE DEEP felt especially romantic at times. Even though its slow-to-build, and remains a secondary focus, when on the page together, Fiske and Eelyn just made me swoon. Their changing emotions, complex relationship, it all had me tied in knots. It felt realistic and I loved how Young portrayed them together.

In the End

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young is a fantastic addition to the YA genre. The best compliment I can give (one that might age me) is the fact Eelyn reminded me a bit of Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. I remember how fierce she was and how much I'd admired her as a teen. Eelyn is sure to bring similar feelings out in today's YA readers. Highly recommended.