“The sounds of battle rushing toward us bled together as the deep-throated prayers of my clansmen rose up around me like smoke from a wildfire.”
Eelyn is a warrior. Raised to fight, hate of her enemy is all-encompassing and uncompromising. She’s never held back, never hesitated. Fighting alongside Myra, her fighting companion and best friend, vengeance is the only thing she can see on the battlefield. Until she sees something impossible. Her brother, fighting alongside the Riki enemy clan. But he’s been dead for five years. She saw him die.
Chasing after her phantom brother ends with her being captured by the enemy she’s sworn to kill. Now, she has to survive in a way she’s never had to before. Surrounded by enemies, knowing that they all would rather kill her than help her, she will face difficulty unlike anything she’s faced in battle.
But when an even more ruthless clan descends on the mountain, Eelyn will have no choice but to put her trust in the warrior who enslaved her. Together they will have to attempt to convince the warring clans to put their past hatreds behind them. Unite and fight a common enemy. Or risk complete annihilation.
“I tried not to look up into the angry eyes cast down on me, the hatred burning through their stares.”
Sometimes when a book is presented about warriors, we only get glimpses of their actual warrior life. That is SO not the case with Sky In The Deep. This book is brutal and intense. Young absolutely does not hold back when it comes to describing the fury and horror that battle must be like. Especially battles where the weapons are axes and swords. Eelyn is savage and I fanatically love it!
Wrapped within the fierce warrior though, is a girl. A girl who has to grapple with living with an enemy she has fought and hated her entire life. The enemy that took her brother, that kills her clansmen without remorse. This is a compelling coming of age story, where inherent biases and hatred are woven deep into the fabric of these clan societies. While the society itself and the fighting seasons they all adhere to seem ancient and far away, the parallels we see in modern society are relevant and obvious.
“But I wasn’t angry. I was aflame with fury. I was filled with something so dark it was poisoning me from the inside out.”
Make no mistake, Eelyn is a fierce warrior. But beneath that fight, she is vulnerable in the way we all are when we have to face things that will change us forever. She has to learn to trust people she’s always been taught to hate. I love that the choice is between individual good versus the greater good. How hate limits and hinders us, both on an individual level and as a society as well. How it’s easy to hate people from a distance. It’s much harder to convince yourself of their capacity for evil when you see them taking care of their fellow clansmen.
Beyond an amazing story, the writing Young gives us is as strong and bold as Eelyn. Every word presented is precise and concise. She is able to convey vivid imagery, strong emotions, and bold characters without relying on being overly descriptive. Even when she uses phrases in their native dialect, she is able to offer the translation in such a natural way that the reader immediately picks up on what is being said.
This strong writing maintains the intensity necessary to really be swept into the story. And to understand this culture. These are warriors. People who rely on actions rather than words. Young ensures that dialogue isn’t wasted, that descriptions aren’t frivolous. It completely immerses the reader in the mentality of these characters.
“It was a different history than the one the Aska told, but the end was the same. Our hatred of the Riki was written onto our bones. Breathed into us by Sigr. What had started as a quarrel between the gods turned into the hunger for revenge — a blood feud.”
Sky In The Deep is a book that most readers will devour. It’s fast paced, even in the slow moments, filled with so much relatable emotion that it sweeps you away. I love the complexity shown for each character. Hating the enemy isn’t a black and white issue in real life, and it isn’t in this book either. Even when they make decisions that feel awful, Young does a fantastic job circling back to show the deeper motivations behind the actions. It feels real in a historical context, which just gives everything a richer feel.
This is a stunning debut, and I believe a stand alone, although I wouldn’t mind more from this world. I can’t wait to see what Young does next! For anyone wanting something new, an experience that doesn’t feel quite so typical YA, or a book that is as brutal and ferocious in action as well as heart, Sky In The Deep is for you. See the links below and get your copy today!
Thank you to Adrienne’s publicist, St. Martin’s Press, and Wednesday books for sending me an egalley for review!
Stay tuned for an excerpt and author interview in the coming days!!!
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god-decreed rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: train to fight and fight to 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.
Eelyn loses her focus and is captured. Now, 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 settling in the valley, 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 tried to kill her the day she was captured. 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 find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.