OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
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.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. 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.
It’s been a minute. But that’s okay because I just read a super awesome book and I can’t wait to tell you about it! My mom grabbed an ARC of Sky in the Deep at TLA for me this year and had it signed. Huzzah! I was thrilled to say the least. Vikings, yes! Bad ass female character, yes! Intriguing plot line with a brother mysteriously is back from the dead and fighting you across the battlefield, yes! Steamy, slow burn romance, YAAAASSSSS!
This standalone novel earned 5 stars from me. I loved the characters (Eelyn + Fiske = True ❤ 4eva), I loved the setting, the plot, the world building, the Viking culture, and all of the grey areas in this book. I really loved how the relationships were not all black and white. There were some definite grey areas that make it relatable. For one, the betrayal between Iri and Eelyn. I don’t feel that it’s ever actually resolved nor do I feel like something like that in real life ever would be. You can’t take a sting out of something like that and Eelyn knows this but more importantly Iri knows it too. But he doesn’t really beg forgiveness. He leans more towards the “I’m sorry you feel that way, sister but this is my life now”.
And then the whole “Do we trust Eelyn, or has homegirl lost her mind” vibe coming from Myra and Aghi. Of course they’re extremely apprehensive about Eelyn coming back out of nowhere with the enemy in tow. It would be crazy if they were like SURE ARCHENEMY COME INTO MY KITCHEN AND HAVE SOME NICE VIKING TEA. No. I’m glad that not everything was easy in this novel. I appreciated the complexity of relationships of all the characters.
Of course Iri’s relationship with both of his families. Because how could that not have some grey in there? Talk about having a “complicated” relationship status.
Especially Fiske and Eelyn’s. He knows he’s mad about her early on but realizes that she’s a little crazy, if not a little immature in the beginning with a lot of life changes happening around her so he doesn’t push the subject. I loved reading all of the little hints he would drop her. He would casually throw a statement of unreadable undying love at her and then walk away all broodily. It was the cutest thing ever.
I don’t really have many dislikes for this novel. I feel like Young did an amazing job for her debut. Some small things I noticed were that Eelyn sobbed A LOT. Not that she didn’t have a right too. She definitely seemed like the moody 17 year old who covers up heartbrokenness and change with anger but she would start sobbing about just about everything. I don’t know, maybe I’m being too tough on the girl. She lived a hard Viking life anyway. Another thing that seemed a tad bit distracting in the beginning of the book was there are quite a few short, punctuated sentences. I think they’re used for emphasis but I think that could have been edited a little better.
I feel like I need to comment on the title of this book. I was so confused about the meaning in the beginning. When I first heard about it I thought it was about a girl named Sky but it’s actually based off a beautiful scene that takes place in the book. I thought that was creative and needed to be noted. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book.
I merely want to add this section to the review because Young has stated on her Instagram that she is in the process of writing a companion novel to Sky in the Deep, and that we will see Eelyn and Fiske make an appearance in it.
- Are the Herja actually supernatural? In the book they’re described as having white eyes. Are they actually demons or are they just taking some crazy berserking drug that makes them look otherworldly?
- What are the relationships between the Riki and Aska clans like after the Herja battle and after they decided to end the fighting season?
- Do Iri and Runa stay in Fela or does he go to Hylli since everyone in his adoptive family move their for Eelyn? I feel like the novel leaves the impression that they stay but Runa’s parents are both dead now and everyone else Iri loves has now moved down to the fjord.