Review: Sky in the Deep
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.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I absolutely loved this book. I loved that it was a fantasy without magic and focused on the culture of the people and the feud between the two clans. The world that Adrienne Young created was amazing! Now let's get into my thoughts on the main characters.
I liked Eelyn from the very beginning. The book starts with the battle between the Riki and the Aska so it started right in the action. I do not usually like this because I do not know the characters at that point to really care what happens to them but it worked for this story. I was worried about Eelyn when a Riki was standing over her about to kill her and this was just in the first few paragraphs. And then for her brother--who she thought was dead --to show up to save her created intrigue. The way Eelyn screamed for her father after that showed emotion that I was not expecting. She was a warrior. She'd been trained to fight since she was a young girl but she continued to show vulnerability throughout this book. She cried and showed anger and hurt when she was feeling it. That's what I liked the most about Eelyn. She could cry over being hurt and then fight with such ferociousness when the need arises. The growth she showed was amazing. From hating the Riki to starting to understand that while they are enemies, they are all alike and have the same problems. Her struggle to deal with her brother's betrayal and her guilt for her part in what happened with him was a struggle to read. I understood her feelings on both sides and I wanted her to reconcile with him so that she did not end up losing him without doing that. She grew so much throughout the novel, becoming a different version of herself from who she was in the beginning.
Fiske was a warrior through and through who cared for his family and would do anything to protect them and of course I did not like him from the beginning. I understood his need to protect his family even if that meant treating Eelyn badly at times. But he also did a lot to keep her safe and the way he loved Iri was amazing. He was fiercely loyal to those he loved and his people. He was a swoon worthy character and I loved seeing how he grew as well just like Eelyn. He realized that the Riki and Aska were all people and they were going to need each other if they were going to survive the common enemy they had. I also liked Inge and Halvard, Fiske's mother and younger brother. And I loved Myra and Eelyn's father as well. This story was character driven and Young did an excellent job of showing us character development and growth for each character.
Eelyn and Fiske together was what I lived for in this book. It was clear the two of them hated each other from the very beginning which is understandable once you read the book. From the synopsis it is clear that Fiske and Eelyn will end up together or something will happen between the two of them but I cannot tell you when things changed between them. It was such a gradual change and that's what made me love their relationship even more. They were perfect together and I adored their relationship. They had a chemistry and connection that was deep and meaningful.
Young created a mesmerizing world with strong characters and drama and fighting that kept me intrigued and invested from start to finish. I loved that it was a standalone and cannot wait to try something else by her. She has become one of my auto-buy authors and I'll be on the look out for her next novel.