The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young (2019)
YA Fiction | Fantasy
“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.”
Expected Publication Date: September 03, 2019
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!
Okay so keep in mind that this was an ARC and therefore who knows what changes may or may not have been made between the copy I read and the copy that will hit the bookstore shelves.
I really enjoyed Sky in the Deep except for a few character things, but otherwise I was totally taken by the magic and Norse inspiration. When I heard that Young would be writing a companion novel I was thrilled to learn more about this world she’d created. The Girl the Sea Gave Back takes place about ten years after Sky in the Deep and while it did draw my intrigue with showing other clans and more about their gods and practices, overall I had trouble focusing.
Pros: I loved the cameos of characters from Sky in the Deep and getting to see how those united clans have progressed over the years, we get to meet the Svell clan and meet new characters, Tova as a Truthtongue was very cool and in fact I loved that whole opening with how she came to be with the Svell, and as with Sky in the Deep I enjoyed learning about Viking/fantasy culture that is sprinkled throughout the book such as their gods, the casting of stones, the body tattoos, the Spinners, etc.
Cons: After the initial opening of the book with Tova I started to feel both bored and confused. For some reason I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight and the pace somehow felt both quick and slow as if they made a good show of plenty going on and yet somehow nothing of note has really happened. This book is quick to bring up several challenges that the characters must overcome and yet somehow I didn’t feel any true urgency behind it despite those challenges including Tova’s fate and war between clans. I feel as if this book is a really solid draft and now it’s time to go through and de-tangle some threads, cut some fat, add some meat, clarify some points, heighten the emotions, and sharpen its plot and characters into a kickass final product.
Some people seem to love this book more than Sky in the Deep, others feel the opposite, some like both and some like neither. Whatever magic snagged my attention in Sky in the Deep simply wasn’t there for me in this book however I love love love the concept in this book SO much. I love everything it tried to be and can only hope that my early ARC (the cover art hadn’t even been released yet) is simply an early draft that has since been edited and polished into the story I’d been hoping for.
Despite my overall opinions I do feel that The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a book with plenty of action and heart, the return of characters beloved and the introduction of characters new, and a story built on an idea that will solidify viking-fantasy in the book trends to follow. You don’t have to read Sky in the Deep to read this one as they’re both standalones only linked by the world and a few minor character roles, but I do think it might help if you did. If you enjoyed Sky in the Deep or are on the hunt for some Norse adventure then you’ll likely find this book to your taste.
Purchase Here: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Read more from this Viking-inspired world: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Meet Adrienne Young!
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.