Book: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Series: Sky in the Deep, #1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
“We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.”
I’m not one who is typically intrigued by the idea of picking up a short, fantasy, standalone. I mean, when I think fantasy, I want fleshed out characters, world-building, feel-inducing relationship developments, and it was hard to imagine how a short fantasy could achieve such standards without feeling too rushed. So you could see why I was skeptical going into this. But of course, the synopsis piqued my interest in the end, and I found myself diving into a world of Vikings.
Lost in a fury of taking down the enemy, Eelyn, an Aska, never imagined that she would see her brother, Iri, fighting on the battlefield with the Riki, especially considering she witnessed his death five years ago. Left with a need to see him again, to confirm that what she saw was not a ghost, Eelyn finds herself captured by the very enemy her brother is now a part of. She quickly regrets chasing Iri when it’s made clear that he has found a new family. But with the threat of warriors, who fight against both Aska and Riki, draw near, the chance for an alliance is the only risk they can take to survive.
This was my first read with Vikings, and it didn’t take long to witness what these Vikings were capable of when the most epic battle scene leaped off the very first page. It was vivid, fierce, and it drew my attention right away as I got swept up in their fighting storm.
“I reared back and swung my axe, sending it deep into the earth, and launched myself up and over the hill, flying forward. My feet hit the dirt and I ran, punching holes into the soft ground with my boots, toward the wall of fog hovering over the field.”
“Beautiful,” is the only way I can really describe this book. I was surprised by how much richness this world was able to convey in such a short period of time. One of my favourite aspects of it was how the language focused a lot on describing the landscape. It transported me into the forests, mountains, and lakes. And beyond that, into the family dynamics, the raw emotions, and the power of surviving. Everything about this book took my breath away.
“I was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.”
There was so much depth to the characters as well as room for them to develop. The best development had to be from Fiske. It was clear that he was a vicious fighter on the battlefield, but seeing him interact with his family in a soft and caring manner really made me adore him. It also didn’t hurt that he was part of a hate-to-lover relationship, my all-time favourite trope.
I loved reading about the passion each character had for their own people, their family. But also that it was made clear that until you walk in the shoes of your enemy you will never realize that they may be just like you.
The dynamic that Eelyn finds herself in was so interesting and fun to read about but I also found the outcome of her situation to be predictable. Meaning I figured that her new dynamic was going to change her perspective and her life from what she had always known, embracing it along the way. Despite it being predictable, it was lovely seeing her come to terms with her new reality.
“I could still see a young Eelyn standing on the beach turned into the wind, a sword in one hand and an axe in the other. I hadn’t lost her. I hadn’t buried her. I’d only let her change into something new.”
This gorgeous standalone has taught me that the size of the book does not matter, that depending on the story and my taste, it’s still possible to be wrapped up in a well-developed, satisfying read no matter the length. I recently found out that there will be a companion novel to Sky in the Deep and I’m thrilled that I’ll have another opportunity to dive back into this world of Vikings.