Holy wow, this book was FANTASTIC. Keep reading for more about it plus my full review!
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.
I'm going to just go ahead and say it- SKY IN THE DEEP is one of my favorite books of 2018. And I am so excited to tell you why!
I'll admit, when I read the first page, I was a little worried. First person. A little more telling than showing. But within 30 pages all my worries were gone. And while yes, the writing leans toward telling, for me IT WORKED. So well! Young's writing style just seemed to mix perfectly with the story she was telling. Everything about this book mixed perfectly- the writing, the story, the characters, the setting. All of it flowed together so seamlessly, every aspect a compliment to the others.
So there's been a bit of a trend in YA the last couple years to lean towards gritty. And honestly? I'm sick of it. These days it feels forced more often than not, and is a quick way to get me to DNF a book. But here's the thing about Sky in the Deep- while everything about the setting and plot screams GRITTY! DEATH! MORAL AMBIGUITY! the story didn't feel like one of those typical gritty, girl-can-kill-everything-and-everyone-so-she-does stories at all! Yes, the world Eelyn lives in is harsh. Yes, a bunch of people kill each other on the regular. But those things were just parts of a bigger story. And it was so refreshing to read something that takes place in such a rough setting but still had many light moments, and characters that showed full ranges of emotion. Eelyn wasn't overly tough and bitter, she was just a normal girl. She could wield an axe like it was nobody's business, but she was also real and heartfelt.
In many ways this book reminded me of Finnikin of the Rock(highly recommend). I think fans of that series, Graveling, or The Queen's Rising would definitely eat SKY IN THE DEEP up. It's a really fast read that pulled me in to the point where I was annoyed whenever I had to put it down. I absolutely can't wait to see what Adrienne Young writes in the future, and in the meantime I will definitely move this book to my reread shelf.