*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
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: Oh, someone please give me some more vikings now! This was such a rich and vividly imagined viking fantasy! I definitely got some Game of Thrones vibes from this story because it was basically the wildlings vs. the whitewalkers and I couldn’t get enough of the epic battle scenes. There were moments where I just sat there trying to let the words of the page sink in. But it was so fast-paced and I couldn’t put it down! Adrienne Young has crafted a beautiful world and I definitely need more of it. On a deeper level, this story had some strong themes about fate and choices, which I really loved. There was just so much meaning underneath everything and it was almost poetic.
The premise of the story is that two clans are divided and come together every five years to battle. Eelyn is part of the Aska clan and five years ago she watched her brother die at the hands of a Riki warrior. But as she faces death on the battlefield, she hears her brother’s voice and he stops the sword about to kill her. While everyone claims it was the spirit of Iri that saved her, she finds him during battle again and follows him into the forest.
When Eelyn is taken captive by the Riki, she is sold to the family her brother now lives with. In her eyes, Iri is a traitor to everything she believes in and must answer for his crimes against the Aska. She must learn to survive in a village where she is surrounded by the enemy and she is forced to swallow her pride and prejudice. When the Riki village is attacked by a clan thought to be a myth, both clans learn that they must overcome their differences to defeat their new enemy before it is too late.
I have so much respect for Eelyn’s character. She is a fierce warrior who fights for her family and her clan, but she opens her heart to the enemy. Once she stops fighting against Fiske and Iri, she finds that the Riki aren’t so much different from her own clan. It was interesting to see her go through such a huge journey of personal growth. I really loved the relationship she had with Fiske as well because it went from pure hatred to undying love. By the end they were ready to lay down their lives for each other.
This was a beautiful story of sacrifice, betrayal, family, and love. I loved how brutal it was, but that there was room for love in between war and violence. This story was just such a down-to-earth interpretation of vikings woven with myth and religion. Both clans relied on their gods to guide them and I love how deep religion runs and how it affects the story. It was interesting to see a shift by the end of the story and how fate can change. This book will definitely leave you craving more!
Content Warning: contains scenes of sexual assault.