Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (DRC): Vikings, Rivalry, and Half-Plots

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3 stars

Eelyn was raised to be a warrior. Her clan, the Aska, have an ancient rivalry with the Riki clan and Eelyn’s life consists of fighting and surviving. Yet, one day she sees her dead brother fighting with the enemy against her clan.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, Eelyn must survive a winter in the mountains with the Riki after they capture her during battle. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan of legend, Eelyn must find new allies to trust outside of her clan.

One of these is Fiske, her brother’s friend. She and Fiske must unite the clans to fight together or be slaughtered one by one.

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Someone please tell me I’m not the only one who shipped Fiske and Iri.

The Eelyn x Fiske dynamic was so bland. Her brother and Fiske had more chemistry than Eelyn and Fiske. Although I admit there was less chemistry between Fiske and Iri than the normal YA couple, it’s more than the dynamic between Eelyn and Fiske.

Seriously, if I hadn’t read the summary before reading, I wouldn’t have expected Eelyn and Fiske to get together until they actually kissed (which I would have passed off as a momentary fluke because Fiske is obviously bi?).

Or maybe this fantasy is just so bland that I had to start inventing some fun, flirty LGBTQ+ romances to make up for the loveless heterosexual ones.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of how unpassionate I am about this book. It’s not that I dislike it, it’s just that it was so…dry? bland? zest-less?

It’s disappointing because I had really high hopes for this. It was supposed to be super fierce and passionate without being misogynistic. This is from the publisher of Wintersong, and although same publisher does not mean same quality, a publishing house’s books typically have similar tastes & literature styles. The books are literally right next to each other on the Wednesday Books website.

I heard so many great things, read so many 5 star reviews, and I just don’t know what happened.

This whole experience was just one big sigh for me.

I think part of this is because neither of the plots felt complete. If you’ve read my review of Turtles All the Way Down, I talked about how it was like there were two half plots rather than one whole plot, and I feel like that’s what happened with Sky in the Deep.

There’s the whole action-plot that’s about the two clans, their rivalry, and how they band together to fight off a mutual enemy, and then there’s the character-plot with Eelyn. But neither plot felt comprehensive enough to hook me into it. Sometimes in books with dual plots, one plot hooks me and the other doesn’t. Yet in Sky in the Deep, neither plot hooked me.

The action-plot felt so simplistic? There was barely any moral dilemma or question behind this plot despite the potential for this in the book. There’s this giant rivalry between the Riki and the Aska because of their gods, and a parallel could be drawn with modern religions and how people fight because of religion.

In Sky in the Deep, the Riki and Aska don’t work out their issues in the way they should be–out of true desire to do so. The Riki and Aska’s hands are forced to work together and find peace between their clans because of their common enemy, and this felt way too…simplistic for me. I feel like if their hands weren’t forced, they wouldn’t have sought peace and this was a big downfall for me because I wanted true peace, not forced peace.

A world forced to peace is not a world at peace. The deep standing issues behind the problem are not solved.

I feel like the action-plot didn’t go nearly as deep as it should have been, and that was a large part of why it felt like a half-plot which didn’t hook me.

The character-plot, on the other hand, was just really dry. I felt like the story between Eelyn and her brother Iri was left very much unresolved and wanted more from this. More angst, more passion, more everything.

I liked how Eelyn developed as a character from hate to acceptance, which was one of the highlights of this novel.

The entire concept as a whole was a highlight–I thought it was very interesting to read a Viking-inspired book and thought this was really cool!

The action scenes were well done in my opinion, although there were only really five of them. I’m not like super into action scenes and I usually skim over them versus intensely read them just because nothing really important happens in them, but I could recognize how well they were written.

The whole book was written well, but I just did not end up being super into it, which was just one of the biggest problems. Nothing in it hooked me (except Fiske and Iri).

Overall, I wasn’t very much into this novel despite being super excited for it. I think if this appeals to you, definitely try it out, but if it ends up not working for you by the halfway point, I say it’s not worth your time. There’s not super intense buildup at the end like there is in other books that makes it worth your while (see: Shadow and Bone), and it remains relatively one-tonal.

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books and Macmillan and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

You can preorder Sky in the Deep now or buy it at any major bookseller on April 24th!

much love, vicky

Have you read Sky in the Deep or any other books about Vikings? What would you recommend I check out?

3 thoughts on “Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (DRC): Vikings, Rivalry, and Half-Plots

  1. I’ve seen this around and a book about Vikings sounds awesome! I do love some good action scenes + I am considering picking this up when it comes out, but I’m trying to cut down my physical TBR haha

    Liked by 1 person

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