Hello humans! Yesterday’s book (Nightblade’s Honor) was a bit of a fail as many of you will know. As soon as I finished it I did a little cheer for joy and, because I’m me, dived right into the next book on my list in the hopes that it would be better. Boy was I right! Sky in the Deep has been on my radar for a while as I love stories that take Viking inspiration. I’m excited to tell you all what I thought of it!
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.
Content warning: Violence, suicide/suicidal thoughts, violence against women.
I read this entire book in one sitting, well lying, I was in the bath and the water literally went cold while I was in there because I couldn’t put this book down. It’s so fast-paced (particularly having just finished such a slow story) and I was completely transported into this world.
I’ll start by saying that there isn’t a lot of ‘fantasy’ in this book beyond the fact that it is obviously not a real story being told. Those looking for Viking magic wielders may be somewhat disappointed. However, I don’t think that’s a downside at all, the action and the characters more than fulfilling my needs for excitement and adventure.
I keep talking about pace, and fast-paced books are something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand there isn’t time for the reader to get bored, however, you do sacrifice some time for worldbuilding and detail. This is more of a ‘learn as you go’ kind of setting, you find out aspects of culture and society as the story progresses rather than being told them in any kind of formulaic manner. That’s entirely a matter of personal preference, I think that in this case it is done very well and I preferred this method for this story.
I will also confess that my knowledge of Viking folklore is very limited, my husband would be able to evaluate it more, and hopefully, I’ll know more after our trip to Norway at the end of the month (eek!). However, right now I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of this setting, don’t go in expecting to see Thor and Loki wandering about, it’s not that kind of story, but there are a lot of details in the kinds of homesteads, weapons and hairstyles these characters have. It’s the right kind of detail for this story, managing not to stall the story but helping you to feel immersed in this setting.
The plot is lovely, it’s got action, travel, character development and twists and turns. While I think the ending is a little rushed, I loved what it did with the idea of family and loyalty as well as that of age-old conflict and changing times. Fair warning, there is a heavy, very predictable, romance aspect to this story that I know will turn a lot of people off. I would recommend going into the story with that in mind as that way it probably won’t bother you as much. I find that if I know what I’m getting myself in for I’m much more likely to enjoy it rather than finding it annoying.
Should you read this? If you are looking for a fresh, fast-paced read with oodles of action and interesting characters (including a wonderful female protagonist) then you should pick this up. I’m excited to see what Adrienne Young comes out with in 2019!
My rating: 4/5 stars
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Sky in the Deep comes out on the 24th of April so be sure to pre-order if you’re interested!
What say you? Do you enjoy books with a Viking setting and what are some of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!