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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
This book grabbed my attention for two reasons: the badass cover (the hair! The axe! those green eyes!) and because it sounded very Viking-inspired, which I don’t feel like I’ve had enough opportunity to read. I was nervous, because I didn’t know how gory it would be and I’m not a big fan of a ton of fighting, but I still wanted to give it a try. And I’m really happy I did! There are so many really mixed reviews about this book, but I thought it was a fun read and I like the direction that Young took in this story.
Truly Badass Protagonist
I thought Eelyn was a really wonderful heroine and very clearly a product of her environment. In a culture that values loyalty to your tribe (the Aska) and honour above your own life, it wasn’t surprising how angry Eelyn was to find out that her brother had willingly chosen to stay with the Riki (rival tribe) instead of coming back to them. And there is a slow build up to Eelyn realizing that family is more then blood and that loving one family is not a betrayal of the other. But this is a hard road, and Eelyn is constantly put into situations where she is forced to find her inner strength and rethink her beliefs. Eelyn proves to be strong physically (this is a girl who isn’t afraid to face grown Viking men on the battlefield) and learns to be emotionally strong.
It’s About Family and What Ties Us Together
While it first appears that this is about a hatred between the Aska and Riki tribes, the crux of this story is really about what makes a family. Eelyn, and the belief of her people, is that blood is what connects it. Yet, she is confronted with the fact that her brother loves his Riki family as much as he loves his Aska one. The story focuses on Eelyn learning to understand this new relationship and coming to believe that it’s not always blood ties that make people family; it’s mutual love, trust, and acceptance. It’s so wonderful to see this change in Eelyn and by the end, we are witnessing more mixing between the Aska and Riki tribes. I can only hope it will continue as people start to intermarriage and further bridge the gap between them, and instead allowing people to make choices not on an ancient hate, but on their own wants.
Not an Instant Love Story
Although Eelyn and Fiske do fall in love, it’s not the traditional YA troupes of gazing into each other’s soulful eyes while going on and on about their love for each other. There’s a tension between them that builds as their relationship ship grows, and I thought it was really well done. They had to learn how to trust each other before they could love each other — and that makes sense. I’ve read a lot of reviews complaining about the lack of romance between Eelyn and Fiske and that’s basically the exact opposite opinion that I have of them. Their love isn’t flashy and immediate, but that’s why I believed it. They learned to respect each other’s strengths and be there at their weak moments, and that’s how their love grew. I was a big Fiske fan!
Basic Storyline, but I Didn’t Mind
This story moves in a very linear, straightforward fashion, but I thought it suited the story itself. The Viking clans are not overly deceptive people by any means; they live, they train, and they fight. So it made sense that this story wouldn’t be so epic, twisty adventure. Instead, it’s a story of a young woman’s quest to find her brother and bring him home, only to realize that home is not necessarily where we are born. There was a build up to the fight between the Aska/Riki and their mutual enemy, the Hejera, and I can agree that the end fight was a bit fast. But I don’t think that this story was really about that battle (although a fun storyline), but really about learning to accept others. And I liked the way the story brought us to that point.
I would always recommend reading a book for yourself, because no one should tell you what you do and don’t like. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in strong (and fairly quiet) characters, Viking-inspired tribes and battles, or a book about family relationships. I really enjoyed Sky in the Deep — let me know what you think of it if you read it!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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