Sky in the Deep was one of my favourite reads from last year, so needless to say I couldn’t wait to get engulfed back in the Viking world created by Adrienne. The Girl the Sea Gave Back had a lot of nods to Sky, with the additional bonus of rune stone reading which will possibly appeal a lot to anyone who’s a fan of books with tarot reading in.
Thank you to Sarah Mather from Titan (the UK publisher) for the finished copy, and to my friend Beth who lent me her ARC before ♡
Read on for my full review, which is more detailed but spoiler-free!
Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 3rd September 2019
Source: Physical finished copy gifted from publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
‘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.’
I really love how we had Halvard as a main character, the book is partly written from his perspective and it was nice to see more of him. From Sky in the Deep we also had some other characters I loved return – Eelyn, Fiske, Iri and Myra. Although I wish we’d seen more of them aside from mostly in flashbacks and then at the very end of the story, it was a great little Easter egg to see them all again. Halvard is still adorable, though older. He struggles throughout though with the heavy burden of knowing he has to lead his people.
‘They’d chosen me for peace, not war.’
Now here’s the thing, this book felt a lot more like Halvard’s story than Tova, who is the ‘girl the sea gave back’. The other parts of the book are told from her perspective but I felt a lot more drawn to Halvard’s point-of-view? That might be because I remember him from Sky in the Deep though or just simply that I preferred the story told more around the ‘good’ side of the story.
Tova is essentially stuck with the bad side, in layman’s terms. As a Truthtongue she has power to read rune stones to see the future and this leads to her being part of a feud (though unwillingly). Her back story was interesting but I enjoyed the story far more when her and Halvard were together. Parts of the story on Tova’s side were a little on the slow side for me and it wasn’t really until right at the end that the action really started. Nevertheless, I really loved the use of the stones so the more subdued parts didn’t bother me too much.
As with Sky, this story is rich with references to Viking life and so if you’re interested in reading a book like that then I’d whole-heartedly recommend you read Sky in the Deep and then The Girl the Sea Gave Back. You could read The Girl the Sea Gave Back without reading the former but to really get engrossed in the story and connect with Halvard I’d definitely say reading Sky is a good idea.
Have you read this yet
or will you be preordering it?