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. (Goodreads)
I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I give Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 5 out of 5 stars.
I'm going to be honest. I almost stopped reading after the first chapter. We start the story about five seconds before a big battle. We don't know the main character, Eelyn, or her friends and family. We know nothing about her, her clan, the world. We jump right into a fight, not knowing why the clans are fighting, or what they're fighting for, or why we should care—particularly when her "dead" brother shows up. I trudged on and about three chapters in, it finally clicked for me.
Eelyn is an enjoyable character. She's fierce and headstrong, loyal to her clan and her family. She's not fearless, but she's brave. She has an interesting character arc over the course of the story and it felt natural.
I really enjoyed the love interest, Fiske. He is very protective of his family, his clan, and the people he cares about. He's kind of the typical brooding love interest, but with slightly less toxic masculinity, which is thanks to Iri and Inge and Halvard. He's distant for a reason—Eelyn is the enemy, but also not. The slow burn romance really worked for me. It had to be slow; Eelyn had to trust him considering the situation she was in.
The plot itself is simple, and explained in the blurb. Eelyn and co. must bring together two warring clans to defend themselves against a stronger clan. That plot doesn't really start until the 50-60% marker, though. The beginning half is really Eelyn getting to know and understand the Riki and her "captors." I use captors loosely because while she is taken, it's for her safety, and then she's told she can leave if she wants. *shrug*
I enjoyed the darkness of the world. The characters don't bat an eye at blood and weapons and violence. It was kind of fun to escape into this world I could leave with all my limbs and life intact.
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young was published April 24, 2018.