Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Girl the Sea Gave Back - Adrienne Young (Sky in the Deep #2)

Summary: The story of an entwined destiny between a girl burdened with mystical foresight and a warrior untested in battle.

Tova was a child when she was discovered washed ashore in a half-burned boat by the Svell clan.  The sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her not only as a member of  the Kyrr, but as a Truthtongue.  The Svell believe her cursed, forsaken by her own people.  But Tova's ability to cast the rune stones and interpret the web of fate woven by the Spinners makes her valuable.  Until the day she foresees the Svell destruction, compelling them to wage war.

Across the valley, the rival Aska and Riki clans have lived peacefully for more than ten years as a new people have lived peacefully for more than ten years as a new people -- the Nādhir. But when Svell raiders attack and a village's inhabitants are slaughtered, Halvard believes there might be a way to avoid war.  Chosen to be the Nādhir.'s next chieftain, he convinces his elders to negotiate with the Svell before more blood is spilled.  His hope for a truce is shattered when the Nādhir. are deceived by their enemy and ambushed without mercy.

But there is more to Tova's prophecy than bloodshed.  As long as Halvard  lives, his people have a future.  And if what Tova sees in the runes is true, her own path is interwoven with his.  Now, she must find the courage to free herself from the only family she's every known in order to fulfill her own fate.  (Summary from book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a sequel to an audiobook that I reviewed back in 2018.  The first book, Sky in the Deep, can be read as a stand alone novel, but those wanting a continuation of their Eelyn and Fiske's story in the sequel, might be a little disappointed to find them relegated to the role of secondary characters.  The story felt more like a spin-off than a sequel, with the plot centered on different characters and set ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back focuses on a young seer named Tova, thought dead by her own people and found by the aggressive Svell clan, and a warrior named Halvard, brother to Sky in the Deep's Fiske, and chieftain-in-training for the newly formed Nādhir people.  The story alternates between Tova and Halvard's perspectives on different sides of the dispute, but often overlap so that I was able to see the 'scene' from both sides of the fight.  I enjoyed this book's basic plot but, for much of the story, I felt a little lost.  That could be entirely my fault.  It's been nearly two years since I read the first book and although the Nordic setting was seamless and easy to conjure, I kept having to stop and look up some of the secondary characters to refresh my memory.  I tell you, the old memory banks ain't what they used to be.  The story jumped around in time a bit, to better  illuminate the characters' backstory, but it all felt a bit Time Traveler's Wife to me as I was trying to order things chronologically in my head. 

As with the Sky in the Deep, I loved the Nordic/Scandinavian setting, the assorted warring clans, and their differing belief systems of The Girl the Sea Gave Back. It really helped 'set the stage,' if you will.  I just wish the book had been a bit longer to allow for more interaction between the two main characters.  While Halvard and Tova catch glimpses of each other in visions and across battlefields, they have limited face-to-face interaction for much of the story.  They do meet, eventually, but I didn't feel like there was enough time for them to develop any real chemistry before the book was just...over.  I wish there had been a few more in-person interactions to give time for things to develop organically and to really draw out any romantic tension.

Overall, I enjoyed the idea of The Girl the Sea Gave Back but not quite as well as its predecessor.  To get the most out of the second book, I recommend reading it soon after the first or at the very least finding yourself a decent summary to refresh your memory.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Some violence of the Viking variety.  A kiss, but no sex or major makingout. No language that I can recall.  Several Norse-ish belief systems.

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