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{ARC & Blog Tour} The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Thank you so much to Titan Books for kindly providing me with a review copy of The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

✨ The Girl The Sea Gave Back came out September 3rd! ✨

Hello everyone, and welcome to the fifth day of this wonderful blog tour! Don’t forget to check out the other stops too 🙂 ❤

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Title: The Girl The Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 3 September 2019
Length: 320 pages

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again―a home.

 
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Previous Installments

This is a sequel to Sky in the Deep, set 10 years in the future.

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Sweet Bits

This book was definitely darker than Sky in the Deep. Whereas the prequel (to me) reflected a more hopeful outlook and focused on the rebirth/regenerating of its characters, family roots, and a deep-set tradition, leaving you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, this one just felt like it was enveloped in a fog of despair with nowhere to go.

Which is not a bad thing. The gloomy, grey atmosphere made it feel like a true Viking tale, with the author really pushing her characters into violent and inhuman situations. It dug deep into the most gruesome of Nordic customs and was unapologetically morbid. I loved the casting of stones!

It made me bright-eyed to see so many familiar faces from the previous books, some of which I had completely fallen in love with and was missing terribly. I was only sad to see so little of them!

The one thing I was most surprised about was how I ended up so emotionally invested in some of the side characters. Each plays a key role in the story, but we aren’t really told that much about them. So how did they manage to invoke all kinds of emotion within me, especially towards the end? Who knows, but I’m not complaining!

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Bitter Bits

I felt I couldn’t get into the story no matter how hard I tried; not like I did when I first started Sky in the Deep (I also apologise beforehand for comparing the two so much, but it’s inevitable).

I think two of the problems were the world-building and plot. We’re introduced to the former back in the first book, and the author did expand it further, which was great. However, it just felt like the exact same story. Different characters, different clans, different setting, but the conflict was all too similar to go unnoticed.

The other problem might have to do with the dual POV. In Sky in the Deep, we only had access to Eelyn’s POV and that seemed to both raise the stakes and the mystery factor. If we go in knowing exactly what is going on on the other side, then it just doesn’t feel as exciting. Another issue I had with this was the fact that once Tova’s chapters ended and Halvard’s began (or vice-versa), they sometimes intersected one another so we were faced with the same exact scene from a different perspective. It just got a bit repetitive and unnecessary, which in turn made it feel sluggish.

I was able to connect with Tova a lot more than with Halvard, and I just didn’t find his chapters all that engaging. His personality just didn’t feel as fleshed out and she seemed to go through a lot more character growth than he did. After finishing the book, I still feel as though I didn’t really know him at all and he left no real mark in me.

This is such a shame because I know he’s Young’s favourite character from the previous book and she really wanted to tell his story. But I also know how much she struggled with The Girl The Sea Gave Back – she was not in a great place when she was working on it, and actually forced herself to rewrite the entire thing before turning it in to her publisher.

This is something that I felt while reading it; the despondent, overcast feel it gives off is no coincidence. It came from the very depths of her being. So while it has that disconnection to it, I also can’t help but appreciate how raw it is and how much of Young is infused on the pages at the time of her writing it.

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Overall

It pains me to write this review as I was completely enamoured with Sky in the Deep and will rave about it until the day I die – unfortunately, The Girl The Sea Gave Back did not give me that same experience, or even close to it.

The dual POV didn’t exactly help, and while I did feel connected to Tova in many ways, Halvard just didn’t speak to me all that much. The story felt a bit repetitive and the conflict too similar to the prequel to excite or interest me.

While I enjoyed the introduction of the new clans and their stories, the extremely desolate Viking aura, and the surprisingly interesting side characters, the actual plot wasn’t able to distinguish itself from the one of the previous book and that gave The Girl The Sea Gave Back a somewhat predictable and dull quality.

Overall, I’m disappointed in this book. But I know what Young is capable of, as she blew me away with her debut, so I’m not at all disappointed in her. I’m so proud she managed to finish a book that was so hard to write and I’m super excited about her new project, Fable! Simply cannot wait.

2.5 Stars Book Review

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📖  Have you read Sky in the Deep?
📖  What is your Viking-inspired book?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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14 thoughts on “{ARC & Blog Tour} The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

    1. Glad to hear I’m not the only one! I’m starting to see a lot more mixed reviews lately, which saddens me a bit because I love Young with all my heart, but at the same time I just want to be honest and say it simply isn’t her best work. I’m hoping Fable will knock me off my socks! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry to see that this one was a disappointment! I loved Sky in the Deep, and was really hoping I would adore this one! Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a lot of “meh” reviews for it. It’s a shame that the plot was so predictable and dull, when compared to that in Sky in the Deep! I hope your next read is more enjoyable, Sophie! ❤

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    1. It’s okay – I can’t love every book! I was just sad because I loved the previous one so much… I keep seeing a lot of mixed reviews as well, so I don’t feel as bad or like it’s a “me, not the book” situation.
      Yeah I mean, had I read this one without reading Sky I probably would have enjoyed it more, but as a sequel it just felt flat and way too similar. Plus, it didn’t make me feel as Sky did 😥
      Thanks so much, lovely! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all right… I was a bit sad but now I’m just focusing on waiting for Fable (which I know will be much better!) 🙂
      I definitely think you’ll enjoy Sky in the Deep, unfortunately, I cannot recommend this one. There’s been a lot of mixed reviews, though, so maybe it does speak to you in a way it did not with me!
      I am, thank you so much ❤ Hope you are too, Raven!

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  2. Ooooh… a couple of the things you mention here make me think I better not even try and read this book… the plot (e.g. a rewrite on Sky in the Deep) and the POVs blending into each other (giving same scene through different perspective).
    It sounds horrible that the author forced herself to rewrite the sequel… of course, it’s going to reflect in the book… breaks my heart…
    But, as you say, I am looking forward to giving Fable a go… it sounds interesting and will definitely be something new from the author…

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    1. I wasn’t so much a rewrite as it felt like one? I mean, it’s original in some ways but it just felt like the exact same thing in the end, and was a tad predictable. Not sure if I’m making sense?
      I would have preferred to maybe have Halvard’s POV this time (a boy, to contrast with the previous heroine) and not have access to Tova’s. Don’t get me wrong, I liked her a lot more than him but yeah… It just didn’t feel like the best choice for this story in particular, or maybe it was the execution that failed here. Who knows?
      I read it somewhere that yeah, she wrote it under severe pressure (as one does, after their debut) but then wasn’t happy with it, so she asked her publisher to rewrite it and then delivered that one version. I can’t be sure the older one would have been better, I just know this one felt so flat compared to the sheer brilliance that was Sky in the Deep. Again, her state of mind might have contributed to this feeling.
      I’m super excited about Fable! I heard she’s been writing that one really casually and at her own pace, pouring all her love into it, so I’m expecting something wonderful. Sometimes publishing can severally damage an author’s creativity, especially when they’re new and dealing with other stuff. So I’m crossing my fingers!

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  3. I remember seeing this book but didn’t make the connection that it was connected to Sky in the Deep, which I just picked up recently and have been eager to read! I’m sorry to hear that it was a disappointment, hearing about it being a sequel made me excited and then the review dashed my interest in reading it haha. I may think about picking it up if I somehow find myself that desperate, but it won’t be high on my list and I appreciate the warning that the plot and dual perspectives is repetitive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. Oh don’t let my review deter you from reading it! I’ve heard people with a similar opinion, but I’ve also heard others gushing about it so it’s really a matter of taste.
      I hope you get to read it eventually, and that you love it more than I did 🙂 Thank you so much for reading, Jamie! ❤

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