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The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young – Blog Tour Book Review

Earlier this year I got to read Sky in the Deep which I reviewed here. As you can see I was a fan so I jumped at the chance to read the companion novel The Girl the Sea Gave Back.

I also got to meet Adrienne at YALC this year. She was lovely and I got both my books signed.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is set in the same world ten years later With familiar characters grown and new characters joining them to threaten the peace if you enjoyed Sky in the Deep dive in without hesitation.

Summary

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 run 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 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.

Huge shout out to the cover designer for another stunning book.

Author

ADRIENNE YOUNG is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee.

What I Thought

It’s always interesting to see what happens after a happily ever after. War is over – or is it? The world was one of the things I loved most about the first book with it being something fresh. The almost simplicity of its brutality with fighting being about survival gives rise to an ability to truly focus on the characters and their relationships. The quiet moments in contrast to war is a theme that is further explored here.

Companion novels are funny beasts especially when you’ve grown so invested in the main characters of the first book to have them not be the main focus. Like meeting new friends in real life, you don’t forget what or who has come before but assimilate them into your world. Fiske and Eelyn from Sky in the Deep do appear and Halvard we met as a young boy. Tova and her community are new to us and the additional aspect of her being an outcast within her own tribe meant there was a twist on this not being a straight replay of the first book.

Universality in young adult stories in providing commentary relevant to our current world is what brings me back to books aimed at teens. Age is but a number and any fantasy fans should enjoy this. As long as you like a side of romance.

I also love it when you know how the book gets its title and in the Prologue we get the answer straight away. The question we are left with is why?

I’m not sure if there will be more stories told in this world but I am enough of a fan of Adrienne’s writing to follow her back or forth to new worlds.

Do check out the rest of the tour stops.

Thank you to Titan for my gifted copy of the book for the purposes of an honest review.

Sky in the Deep – Blog Tour Character Q&A and Excerpt

Sky in the Deep had its US release last year and was all over bookstagram so when I was offered the chance to read and review ready for its U.K. release tomorrow, 26th March 2019, I jumped at it. I’m so happy to be kicking off the tour along with Sammy Shelf.

Please find below a Q&A with Eelyn and Fiske the two main protagonists, a hint of what’s to come with book two and an excerpt plus a mini review from me.

Please let me know below if you know of any Eelyn and Fiske fanart. I NEED it!!!

Synopsis

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings – and all heart!

Eelyn is a seventeen-year-old warrior, trained to fight fiercely alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god -decreed rivalry against the Riki clan, her life is brutal but uncomplicated. Until the day she witnesses the impossible on the battlefield – her brother, fighting alongside the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago… Shocked by the sudden realisation that her brother may be alive, Eelyn loses her focus and is captured by the opposing clan. Now, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, and every battle scar they wear is possibly one she herself delivered. But when a ruthless clan who are settling in the valley raids the Riki village, Eelyn’s desperation to escape is heightened when it’s rumoured that her beloved Aska clan have been decimated by the same horde.

She is given no choice. She must put her faith in Fiske, her brother’s friend who sought to kill her the day she was captured. 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 find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her trust in the people she has been taught to hate and who she has spent her entire life killing.

About the Author

ADRIENNE YOUNG is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee.

Sky in the Deep is her debut novel

Character Interviews

Eelyn

What does Sigr mean to you?

Sigr is the north star of our people.

What is your favourite memory of your brother Iri?

Training together for our first fighting season as fighting mates paired for battle. I’d spent my entire life looking up to Iri and it was the first time I really felt like his equal and also the first time I thought maybe he saw me as one.

Complete the phrase – The Riki are:

… all the parts of me I didn’t know.

Fiske in three words

Strong. Silent. Sure.

Fiske

What does Thora mean to you?

Thora is fury and fire but also the mother and caretaker of our people.

Favourite childhood memory?

The first time my little brother Halvard pulled a fish from the ice on his own.

Complete the phrase – The Aska are:

… the greatest threat to everything I love.

Eelyn in three words

Wild.

Question for Adrienne

What should we expect from the companion novel The Girl the Sea Gave Back?

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a new standalone that takes place ten years after Sky in the Deep. It follows the story of Halvard when he is eighteen years old. We will see a lot more of who he is and his memories of growing up on the mountain with Fiske as his father figure and we will also meet a new clan who will threaten the peace they’ve found.

Extract from Sky in the Deep – The Ghost

I thought of my father. His soil-stained hands. His deep, booming voice. And my home. The fire flickering in the dark. The frost on the glade in the mornings.

I stood, pressing my fingers into the hot wound at my arm and saying Sigr’s name under my breath, asking him to accept me. To welcome me. To watch over my father. “Vegr yfir fjor,” I whispered.

He slowed, watching my lips move.

The furs beneath his armor vest blew in the damp breeze, pushing up around his angled jaw. He blinked, pressing his mouth into a straight line as he took the last steps toward me and I didn’t run. I wasn’t going to be brought down by a blade in my back.

The steel gleamed as he pulled the sword up over his head, ready to bring it back down, and I closed my eyes. I breathed. I could see the reflection of the gray sky on the fjord. The willow bloomed on the hillside. The wind wove through my hair. I listened to the sound of my clansmen raging. Fighting in the distance.

“Fiske!” A deep, strangled voice pierced through the fog, finding me, and my eyes popped open.

The Riki before me froze, his eyes darting to the side where the voice was coming toward us.

Fast.

“No!” A tangle of wild, fair hair barreled into him, knocking his sword to the ground. “Fiske, don’t.” He took hold of the man’s armor vest, holding him in place. “Don’t.”

Something twisted in my mind, the blood in my veins slowing, my heart stopping.

“What are you doing?” The Riki wrenched free, picking his sword back up off the ground and driving past him, coming for me.

The man turned, throwing his arms around the Rikiand swinging him back.

And that’s when I saw it—his face.

And I was frozen. I was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.

“Iri.” It was the ghost of a word on my breath.

They stopped struggling, both looking up at me with wide eyes, and it dove deeper within me. What I was seeing. Who I was seeing.

What I Thought

For me this book lived up to the hype. It was a slightly slow burn but I suddenly found myself totally invested in the lives of these characters.

The violence is brutal – Vikings people – not namby pamby killers but chop off their heads and stick them with an axe types. I loved this setting and its grit made a great change to the fantasy worlds I usually read.

This is Eelyn and Fiske’s story and how they grow to see past their differences and respect each other’s culture. A timely narrative, and an imperfectly perfect pair.

A huge thank you to Sarah at Titan for gifting me the copy of the book in preparation for this post, and of course to Adrienne and her characters for their replies.

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