Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young (Sky in the Deep #2)

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young // VBC Review

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep #2)
Adrienne Young
Published: September 3, 2019 (Wednesday Books)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for and honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started, check out VBC’s review of Sky in the Deep.

Ten years ago, the Riki and Aska clans united to defeat their common enemy the Herja. The clans remain united, calling themselves the Nadhir. Peace, always tentative, is on the verge of breaking as tensions rise between the Nadhir and the Svell. Heir to the clan chieftain, Halvard is amongst the first generation to grow up without constant blood and death among their people. He’s loath to lead his brethren on a path that will bring back the fighting and revenge. But he will do everything he can to ensure the survival of his clan.

Tova has lived among the Svell since she was a child. Her life before that is foggy, but the symbols and pictures on her body mark her as a Kyrr. Most notably, the open eye at her chest indicates Tova is a Truthtongue; someone who casts the runes to predict the future. All her life Tova has been used for her powers, but also equally used as a scapegoat when things don’t turn out the way the leaders want. Her casting the runes will set the Svell on a path of war, death, and destruction, and will put Tova right in Halvard’s path.

For those who don’t make the connection going in, Halvard is the younger brother to Fiske from Sky in the Deep. Honestly, it took me a bit to put it together, but it really doesn’t matter. The Girl the Sea Gave Back reads really well entirely on its own, but if you have read Sky in the Deep (recommended) then it’s also nice to have that context in place.

As a comparison between the two companion books, Sky and Girl read like entire opposites in terms of pacing and characterization. When looking back, I actually love the connection that it brings up between where the clan was ten years ago (fighting, dying) with where they are now (living, peace). Both books represent really well the mindset in which we find our characters/world. I loved Sky’s fast-paced fierce brutality. But I understand Girl’s hesitance to go back in that direction again.

There’s a lot of contemplation about fate and whether or not it’s an unmoving force or a movable object. There’s a lot of circling that happens throughout the book and it can feel a bit repetitive, but somehow, with Adrienne Young’s brilliant writing, the story moves steadfastly forward.

I would have loved more interactions between Halvard and Tova. What little there is wasn’t as satisfying for me as Fiske and Eelyn’s interactions in Sky. But Halvard and Tova each occupy their own space. Halvard in the task of leading his people into potential slaughter, and Tova with figuring out where she comes from and what part her path plays in the future of the Svell and Nadhir. I enjoyed the fact that Halvard and Tova circle around each so much throughout the story, but when they finally do come together I really wanted more depth as it’s clear they’re connected on some kind of almost spiritual level.

While The Girl the Sea Gave Back didn’t resonate with me as much as Sky in the Deep I still found it to be a worthy companion novel. Be prepared for the differences, but also try to go with the flow of what the novel is supposed to represent and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Sexual Content: None

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