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.
Fantasy | Young Adult Fiction
When I first saw Sky in the Deep, I thought to myself – I need to read this. Why? Because I loved the idea of a Viking backbone with, from what the synopsis gives, a badass heroine with a little bit of romance.
What is something I need and/or want more in young adult literature? Heroines with a backbone. A female lead that is empowering, fierce, no shits given attitude yet can separate herself from this warrior to find something more board than herself. Still kickass badassery on a massive level, but can still admit her feelings without allowing them to drive her morals, her personality and above all, not create her to be inferior. Eelyn is this warrior, at least in my eyes while reading.
Eelyn is a viking through and through, she is a warrior for the Aska clan, fighting along side her battle mate, Myra. She was raised to kill, to live and die for her clan. She respects and honors her duties. This is what I like about Eelyn. Even as her growth throughout the novel changes her attitude, develops her personality, she is still this the same axe wielding viking, craving blood, craving a purpose.
Speaking of the growth and changes Eelyn goes through during the novel, it is a mix between finally realizing what actually happened to her brother, Iri who is now allied with her enemy clan, the Riki. This conflicts Eelyn in so many ways – not understanding how to accept his changed love, his personality while also realizing she too is changing her attitude towards the enemy clan. I loved Eelyn and Iri during their moments. The hatred, the confusion of the situation, getting to know one another and realizing Eelyn has so much hatred not for just the situation but towards herself for what she believes, leaving him for dead, killing her brother herself five years ago.
In the midst of rekindling so much of those conflicts towards her brother, Eelyn finds herself closer to Fiska, her brothers Riki best friend. From the first encounter, Fiska has this presence about himself that I cannot get over – simply put, he is a force of his own, one that clashes with Eelyn on a multitude of levels. By the end, I am left swooning, smiling like a giddy child because the connection of freindship and trust that is built between a Riki and an Aska really delivered between Fiska and Eelyn.
Obviously, even by the synopsis, you can see that there is a romance. But before you go all, YUCK on me, because I know I thought it too, but stop! The romance that blossoms throughout is perfection. It is so well written that it is masterfully flowed within the story line. Not once does it over take, overshadow nor overcompensate for a lack of other plot mixes. Even during the battles, when the romantic connection was at a peak, being so adamant in the climatic situation, it cascaded through aiding the feels of the scene. That moment (and those who have read this… know what scene) when the battle is midway, blood spilling, screams heard in corners – the scared, frantic moment of searching and then everything stops. It was a moment where I lived with the characters, feeling my chest clenching, my pulse pounding, sitting and waiting to see if the tears were going to start rolling down… it was phenomenal.
Bottom line, I loved this. I devoured Sky in the Deep instantly. Captivating from the jump, it is both beautifully written and dauntingly powerful with characters spiraling with depth. The attachments I developed for each character was uncanny, battles that flow effortlessly leaving me sweaty palmed anticipating the next epic encounters – that next fierce argument or clan war. And no matter how you slice the romance, for me, it not once overshadowed the plot, it enhanced the feels, it capitalized on the situation and made the novel so much more… it was perfection.
Eelyn is a fierce warrior, a heroine that was an absolute treat to follow. I cannot say that enough. So buy Sky in the Deep, buy it now and thank me later. Battles, clan disputes, family drama with a smidge of romance… it was an amazing read.