Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Young Eelyn was raised to be a warrior in her Viking clan, the Aska, where she fought side by side with her brother until he died in battle. Years later, seventeen-year-old Eelyn is fighting in a particularly brutal battle when she sees her brother alive and well and fighting for the other side. Compelled to follow him, she is distracted and finds herself captured by her enemy, the Riki. It is then that she discovers that not only is her brother fighting with the enemy, but he has become the enemy. Betrayed and furious, she is now a servant to her brother’s new family, and she must figure out a way to escape, or she must learn to trust her brother again.
Finally, a young adult book about Vikings! Sky in the Deep is fast-paced from start to finish. I was immediately enraptured by Adrienne Young’s language, and the not-so-subtle violence that occurred in the beginning of the book. While I’m not familiar with Viking history at all, the setting and way that the characters act felt genuine to that time period, at least, as much as a young adult book can be.
This novel does have a few tropes that I wasn’t too happy to see. The trope of the protagonist being taken as a slave or servant of the enemy people. The trope of falling in love with her captor. But Adrienne Young does take these plot devices and spins them into a positive message. The Riki and the Aska clans aren’t so different after all. Maybe Eelyn could use this knowledge for the greater good…
I was just a tad disappointed in Eelyn. In the beginning of the novel, she is the epitomy of badassery, but as the story progresses, she is victimized just a little too much for my liking. She’s a little bit of a whiner—bear in mind, not nearly as bad as the protagonists are in other books—but for a Viking warrior? Hmm… I didn’t expect her to be quite so weak after her powerful introduction. That said, some of this vulnerability does make Eelyn more relatable to the modern girl, since most of us have never actually killed a man with an axe (in real life—video games are another story altogether). I genuinely felt for Eelyn’s plight throughout the story, although I think that I would have been a lot less forgiving than she was.
This story is impeccably written. Adrienne Young doesn’t spend much time describing the settings, the characters, etc. but she meticulously selects words that do that work for her. There’s one point where she comments on the children “funneling” out of the room. That single word, where she could have just said “leaving” or “hurrying” was so unique and really painted a picture of that scene so clearly in my mind.
I recommend this book to those looking for a young adult historical fiction that has a strong female protagonist, beautiful prose, and a cute, yet predictable, romance.
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