Book Review: SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young

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Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Series: Standalone (but with a companion novel)


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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I had heard so much about this book when it released, and then a more mixed bag a few months later, that I was rather nervous going in to this book. I’m so glad I did read it, because it was a lot of fun.

Technically, this is a fantasy, by virtue of it’s secondary world setting and mythos, but there’s no magic involved. The gods don’t play a role in the story, except through belief. It’s low fantasy, so if you’re expecting magic, you’ll be disappointed. Usually, I’m not such a big fan of low fantasy, but I didn’t think there’d be much magic from the synopsis, and I found the story intriguing without magic.

I was hooked right from the first page, which dives into the action. It doesn’t flinch back from violence, and the consequences of injuries are actually played out. Characters don’t miraculously recover a chapter later, they carry them throughout the book, learning to adapt as their injuries hinder their usual habits. I loved that Eelyn, who is initially described as a warrior, had to adapt to being all but unable to defend herself with an injured arm. It was such a good way of pushing her out of her comfort zone.

The pacing was taut throughout, propelling me from scene to scene. The writing is evocative, bringing the world to life. I felt really there, among the Viking-esque world of snow and blood.

Eeyln is your typical YA warrior – all about pride and honour. Her arc is a pretty self-explanatory, and I am a tiny bit bored of this honour is all characterisation. She also seemed to do the chores with far less fighting than I’d expected. For all her grumbling about the work making her lose honour, she just did them. Then again, character is rarely the most important part of a book for me.

I did, however, like the relationships she had and the supporting characters. Halvard is a darling little boy, so full of life and curious. He was such a fun character to see the innocent side of the Riki – Eeyln’s enemies – through. Inge is a kind maternal figure, so important in a book that deals with family and found family. She’s far cleverer than the initial impression given, and so caring.

Iri is one of the more complicated characters in the book, born one tribe and now another. The relationship between him and Eelyn was so interesting to watch unfold over the course of the book.

I’m now looking forwards to the companion novel, THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK, releasing in September.

Read my reviews of other books by Adrienne Young:

Young Adult:

Sky in the Deep (this series):




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