The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young is a spinoff of Young’s book Sky in the Deep. It is a historical fantasy. This review will be spoiler-free.
The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.
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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
Ten years have passed since the events of Sky in the Deep and a new threat is looming over the Nādhir.
I wasn’t sure what to expect diving into this book. Since I had already read Sky in the Deep and I knew this book took place in the same world, I didn’t bother to read the synopsis before picking it up.
I don’t think I would call this book a sequel to Sky in the Deep as much as a spinoff. Some of the characters in it were major characters in Sky in the Deep, but I think that a reader would be able to pick this book up and understand what was happening without having read Sky in the Deep. However, I don’t recommend it. Seeing those characters and knowing the history really helped me connect with the events that were occuring.
But I struggled to get into it. I was probably 65 pages into it before it really caught my attention, which is a long time. It took me four days to read those 65 pages and I almost gave up on it. But once it picked up, I couldn’t put it down. I devoured the rest of the book in a single sitting.
The world that Young created in Sky in the Deep and continued to develop in this book was remarkable. I loved being able to dive back into a world that had captured my heart. A large chunk of the book took place in a setting I was already familiar with so it didn’t take much work on my part to picture it.
There were new clans introduced in this book, which I enjoyed. I loved learning about the Svell and the Kyrr, but I also loved seeing what happened to the Nādhir after the end of Sky in the Deep. Each clan is so drastically different and I loved seeing the way Young was able to showcase what made them special.
As for Tova and Halvard. I loved both of them. Halvard was a child in Sky in the Deep, but ten years have passed and he has grown up. I loved being able to get to know him as a man instead of as a child. And then there is Tova. She is such a unique character. All she wanted was to be wanted. It broke my heart that she had to go through the events of the book. I want more of Tova and Halvard. I loved the way this book ended, but at the same time, I hated it. I want to read what happens next!
The concept of the stones, the spinner, and the gods really intrigued me. I’d love to learn more about this tangled web.
This book was beautifully written. Young is able to weave words into a spellbinding stories. I can guarantee that I will be buying more books from her in the future. The pacing of this book was a little off with the beginning moving so slowly, but that is my only complaint about the entire book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The first book in this series was better, but I still loved being able to see what happened all these years later. If you enjoyed Sky in the Deep, I definitely recommend checking out this book.