Tag Archives: Adrienne Young

Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Adrienne Young
Wednesday Books
Published September 3, 2019

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About The Girl the Sea Gave Back

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of SKY IN THE DEEP.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

My Review

THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is told in alternating points of view from Tova, a Truthtongue living with the Svell as an outcast, and Halvard, a young warrior destined to become leader of his tribe. I liked both characters immediately. Halvard is so eager to do the right thing and has a fierceness and yet this endearing core of self-doubt. Tova has this insatiable curiosity about her past and an unshakeable faith in the Spinners, who weave the fate of everyone.

I found it a little difficult to follow some of the story world and keep track of the broad cast of characters. I didn’t realize at first that THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is from the same story world as Young’s debut, SKY IN THE DEEP. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have tried to read SKY IN THE DEEP first so that I had a better understanding and more familiarity with the background, the tribes, and Halvard’s huge family.

The story has a very rich feel to it in terms of its history and culture. Each tribe has its own lore, its own gods and traditions, and its own way of doing things. The clash in those traditions created a lot of tension, too. That and the emphasis on the Spinners and their role in weaving together everyone’s fates created a sort of global feel in THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK that I really enjoyed.

It does also have a lot of battles and battle violence. A couple chapters are mostly descriptions of one critical battle. It was a little much for me, but you probably know by now that I’m a sensitive reader, so factor that in and check out my content notes below for more specific details.

If you enjoyed SEA WITCH by Sarah Henning or CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL by Mara Rutherford then you should check out THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

I think the characters are all sort of Scandinavian-ish? Blond hair and pale skin, or dark hair and pale skin.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Each tribe worships a specific god and has rituals to honor that god. Tova believes in the Spinners, gods who weave the fates of everyone.

Violent Content
Extended descriptions of battle violence. Some descriptions of physical abuse of a child. Some descriptions of torturing prisoners. Situations of peril.

Drug Content
Tova breathes in a poisonous, hallucinogenic smoke in order to speak to the Spinners.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog. I received a free copy of THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep
Adrienne Young
Wednesday Books
Published on April 24th, 2018

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About Sky in the Deep

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.

My Review
I liked this book. Mostly. But I didn’t love it, so that’s why I’m only giving it three stars.

The plot was pretty good, if a little basic: two warring villages must join together to defeat greater threat. While I can’t say that I’ve read this plot before, it still felt kinda cliché. I feel like there could’ve been a lot more exploration into the dynamics between the two villages, and it would’ve been more interesting if there had been greater differences between the Riki and the Aska. (They are pretty much identical, except for the name of their god and minor ritualistic stuff.)

I loved Eelyn as a character. I really felt for her and what she went through, and I could understand her emotions. The author did a great job of building a connection with her. However, none of the other characters were really rounded out, which led to the romance feeling very bland and lust-driven rather than a real rapport built between characters. I didn’t understand Fiske, and honestly felt like he was just a minor character thrown in for a romance subplot.

I’d love to see more of the broader world in this story as well: where did the Herja come from? Are they even human? What is the bigger picture here?

Overall, I found Sky in the Deep to be pretty bland. What could’ve been an incredible, heart-wrenching tale about cultures combing/clashing turned into a predictable fantasy adventure that just didn’t enthrall me.

Recommended for Ages 16 and up

Cultural Elements
The Herja are described as being very pale with white eyes. Both the Riki and the Aska seem to be caucasian. 

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Characters ‘curse,’ but actual words are not given.

Romance/Sexual Content
One character is almost raped. Some kissing scenes, semi-detailed. One intimate encounter in a fade-to-black, off-page type scene.

Spiritual Content
The Riki and the Aska each have their own god, and these gods are supposed to be enemies. Thora is the Riki god, and came ‘from the mountain in fire.’ Sigr is the Aska god, and ‘had risen up from the sea.’ Every five years, the tribes battle in honor of their warring gods. The Aska believe in Sólbjorg, which is an afterlife that is earned by honor and valor. The Riki also believe in an afterlife called Frior. Both tribes perform ritual ceremonies.

Violent Content
Very graphic descriptions of wounds, killings, and attacks. One character graphically rips out another character’s eyeball. One character is almost raped.

Drug Content
Characters drink ale, and use herbs for medicinal purposes.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.