Hello everyone and welcome to the Sky in the Deep UK blog tour! 🙂
This was honestly the best book I’ve read so far in 2019 so I was ecstatic to be invited to the blog tour. Also, be sure to check out the giveaway link at the bottom of this post!
Don’t forget to hop on to the other stops after you read this one and show the bloggers some love ❤
This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.
Title: Sky in The Deep (Sky in The Deep #1) Author: Adrienne Young Publisher: Titan Books Publication Date: 26 March 2019 Length: 352 pages 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.
This is the first book in the Sky in the Deep series (trilogy?). The second book is coming out in September! 😍 *throws confetti around*
Let me give you a heads up: this review will contain 99% sweet bits. I know, I know, this doesn’t happen often but WHEN IT DOES OH MY GOD, it fills me with so much joy and emotions *fans self*
But I have good reason to gush about this book, so let me tell you all about it:
The Viking era was depicted very accurately. The extreme importance given to religion, war and honour, the animal sacrifices to the Gods, how women were just as vicious warriors as the men (sometimes even more), the tight-knit community who looked after their own, the currency/tools/weapons/garments/hairstyles/war tactics used, the villages and housing – they were all on point and showed not only that the author had done her research but also her ability to seamlessly incorporate her knowledge into the story. You know, without resorting to info dump.
The writing was fluid and engaging and I just couldn’t stop reading. It was to the point, without any big flourishes or lengthy descriptions, and it’s just what I would expect from a book about Vikings – they are the most practical people on Earth! So a story about them would have to be just as no-nonsense and packing only the essential. Thus, creating a very rich yet stimulating experience. There are tons of violent and gruesome scenes that made my skin crawl a bit (again, accurate). Yet it managed to be equal parts brutal and beautiful.
Which means this book had me weeping. Like, a lot. I was so invested in these characters, and especially the protagonist Eelyn, that my heart broke every single time she suffered. And she suffered A LOT. The poor girl didn’t get a rest from beginning to end and I was constantly anxious, wondering what the author would put her through next! It was super unnerving and exciting at the same time (not that I liked her suffering, but you know what I mean).
The truth is, I bonded with her from page one. Her struggles and fears, her insecurities and pain, they all spoke so much to me. She was this strong, confident, independent, reliable, caring young girl who put her family and friends above all else, even herself, who did what she had to do in order to survive and honour her people, who kept going even when things felt helpless and she was paralysed from fear and doubt, and who didn’t need anyone to save her because she always saved herself (and, believe me, there were so many opportunities for some knight in shining armour to come swooping in and predictably save her, but the author had none of it). Not once did she just give up or felt sorry for herself – no, she didn’t have time for that!
And it wasn’t that she was this invincible, untouchable, godly creature who somehow had all the skills and talent and was better than everyone else. She was a realistic warrior who took beatings and gave beatings and whose small frame gave her both advantages and disadvantages like any other human being. She wasn’t depicted as being extremely beautiful or smart or bearing any special traits, and that’s what made her so special in my opinion. She was fierce, and proud, and clever, but in just the right amounts. She was also jealous and irrational and a pain sometimes, and that is absolutely okay! A heroine has flaws too.
The plot and reason for why both tribes fought was not explained straight away, but it WAS explained, which is more than I can say for most fantasy books. There was some historical inspiration behind it, too, which just made it even better. Not many people will understand or think it’s valid, but it takes looking at our own world in this day and age to realise we have not evolved all that much in the conflict department.
Moreover, the plot didn’t simply exist as an excuse or to give way to something else (like a romance). It WAS the book and everything else happened BECAUSE of it, not using it as background. Fate played a big part in this story and I was over the moon about it, especially for how cleverly the author managed to use it.
The friendship and bromance in this were so, so wholesome they made me want to cry. My babies Myra and Eelyn, and the boys, and the strong bonds between family members, especially Eelyn and her dad… They were just too much. They were all too precious for this world and I just wanted to protect them at all costs (which the author made very hard because she kept throwing them into these life-threatening situations! Rude.)
And – I saved the best for last – the slowburn romance. Though, when I say slowburn, I mean SLOW. BURN. I was practically foaming at the mouth at way these two were going in circles around each other, and the tension building up with every chapter, and the absolute lack of self-awareness that basically ruins every romance for me! Did I mention I loved those? Because I loved those.
There was not a single mention of someone finding anyone attractive, or suddenly forgetting about their priorities because they had a new fling, or instalove vibes, or anything of the sort. Vikings don’t have time for that. If you blinked at any point in this book, you would have missed the spark completely up until the point it hit you in the face (though not me, oh no, I was LIVING for it).
And not only that, this had an enemies to lovers trope too! What else could this girl want? (Spoiler alert: nothing, she was squealing with joy and jumping up and down on her bed at 3AM). He was just so soft with her, and she made herself vulnerable around him like she did with no one else, and beyond being a couple, they were a team. They didn’t keep each other back – they had each other’s backs. They didn’t sacrifice their own lives for the other – they made changes that would work for both. They respected and supported and pushed each other, and that’s truly what a relationship should be about. I could go on and on but basically they were goals and were worth all the waiting.
A glossary would have been nice, I have to admit. It was especially confusing in the beginning and even though the meaning of most words could be infered from context, that wasn’t always the case and I ended up having to Google some of the terms. Yup, this is my only complaint!
If you couldn’t tell, THIS BOOK DESTROYED ME. But in a good way. I’m still recovering. It was just PERFECTION, I mean, what else can I say about it that I haven’t covered in my extensive gushing above?
Let’s recap: there was amazing Viking representation that showed the author’s extensive knowledge (and love) of the era, the incredible (but practical) writing style that complimented the book’s theme and story so well, the epic pace and flow that kept the reader on the edge of their seat without a single moment of boredom, a cast of realistic and wholesome characters and relationships that tore at my heartstrings and made me weep throughout (especially my baby Eelyn aka the best protagonist and feminist inspiration a girl could ask for), a fantastic plot and foundation that made sense and wholly supported everything else happening in the story, and finally the best slowburn enemies to lovers romance I have read in a long, long time.
If none of this has convinced you you need this book in your life, may Odin have pity on your soul.
And now – the giveaway 😀 Titan Books will be sending one lucky winner a paperback copy of the amazing Sky in The Deep!
This will be running from April 1st to April 30th and is UK ONLY (sorry international friends 😦 ) I will be contacting the winner at the beginning of May for some details like name and address so you need to a) be comfortable sharing those, and b) be 16+ years old / have parental permission to participate.
I think that’s about it for now! Good luck everyone ❤ ❤
📖 Do you often give 5 stars ratings? What makes a 5 star read for you?
📖 Do you enjoy Viking stories? What is your favourite historical period?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂