TITLE: Sky in the Deep
AUTHOR: Adrienne Young
RELEASED: April 2018; Wednesday Books
GENRE: YA Fantasy
KEY INFO: first-person narration, hate-to-love romance, Nordic fantasy
REPRESENTATION: female MC
CONTENT NOTICES: sexual harassment & humiliation, violence, death, enslavement, prisoner of war
Sky in the Deep was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. The moment I saw that gorgeous cover I fell head over heels for it and I loved how Skyrim-esque the story sounded. Sadly though, Sky in the Deep didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Although it was an all-around enjoyable read, it didn’t possess the depth and richness of story that I had been hoping for.
1st person narration via Eelyn
Let’s get one thing straight, Eelyn is a completely badass character. I loved her fighting spirit, her fighting style (she fights with axes!), and her loving heart. What I didn’t love though was reading the book through her eyes. I’m not a huge fan of first-person narration as I find it really breaks immersion for me and I feel that it isn’t as strong a writing style as third-person narration is. Whilst Eelyn was a cool character, the setting for Sky in the Deep had so much potential that couldn’t be achieved through the narration style, resulting in a surface level reading experience.
Blink and You’ll Miss It
Sky in the Deep suffers from a very odd pacing problem. Within the first few pages, we are thrown head-first into bloody, gory fighting which was great. It was a chaos of Viking hair, weapons embedded in heads, and dead bodies everywhere. As the story is slowly teased out though, the pace slows right down only for the ending to be over in the blink of an eye which I felt really didn’t do the story any justice. I’m a big fan of slow burn narratives. During the slower section of the book, I really got to know more about Eelyn, her people’s ancient feud with the Riki clan, the motivations of the enemy, and some of the wonderful side characters. It felt the story was building up to something that was going to be really great but never reaches its proper climax because the ending felt really rushed. Anger, grief, and rage that has been burning for centuries is put aside in just a few pages in order for the clans to unite against a greater threat and then everyone kind of just… lives a happy life afterwards. I honestly think Sky in the Deep could have been done better as a duology to allow for more time to explore the political, cultural and social tensions between the clans, and not rush the final battle as much.
I felt so conflicted over the romance in Sky in the Deep. On the one hand, it was really predictable. On the other, *fans self*. The romance is definitely cute, and at times gets pretty steamy, so I did enjoy it. It’s something you can see coming a mile off though and leads to a pretty predictable ending for the book which, again, didn’t do the book justice.
I enjoyed the book so much that I literally tore through it. The combination of the story, the characters, and the setting kept me coming back for me each time. There were just a few niggles that kept me from feeling satisfied at the end and being able to give it a higher rating.
Thank you to St. Martins Press for providing me with a free copy of Sky in the Deep in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my review.