Saturday, May 12, 2018

Audiobook Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 352
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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.

Sky in the Deep was easily one of my most anticipated books of 2018 and probably the one the most people told me to read. I was SO excited to dive into this Viking world! The synopsis sounds incredible - a girl taken by the enemy and forced to live among them is totally a story I want to read! And I feel like literally every person other than me loved this book! So what went wrong? Well, kind of a lot.

Eelyn is such a fantastic protagonist and was actually one of the few things that actually went right in this book. I love a strong heroine who fights for what she believes in! I loved watching her relationships grow and sympathized with her whenever she found out she had been betrayed. I loved her determination to get back to her family and help them and I rooted for her to succeed. I also thought her brother was a decent character, although I still feel like his motives were a little questionable. Some secondary characters were pretty great also, but that's about where my enjoyment of the characters and story ended.

My main issue with this book is that it's all so predictable. The story has been done a thousand times before and it has been done better. A person is forced to live with the enemy and finds out they aren't that different after all. Maybe one of them could be her true love. Sound familiar? Pocahontas (the Disney movie) immediately comes to mind, but there are tons of other examples of the exact same premise. I know that next to nothing is truly original, but this story just didn't do anything for me.

One of my other problems with the story is that this idea of the other not being truly "other" only extended to the initial tribe mentioned. Eelyn goes to her enemy's village and learns to love them, but continues to see the Big Bad Tribe as 100% pure evil. They are never humanized in any way. Never mind that the entire book is focused on the idea that the other might not actually be evil. We never learn anything about their mutual enemy at all other than that they're Bad.

The romance in Sky in the Deep was also just okay for me. To be honest with you, I didn't even realize that Fiske was single until about halfway through the book. Eelyn's and Fiske's feelings seem to come basically out of nowhere overnight after a few half conversations. I know that some people are all about this ship, but I just didn't feel it.

Besides Eelyn herself, the other thing this book had going for it was the world building. I felt like I was watching an episode of Vikings while I was listening to this audiobook. I could picture the landscapes and villages and dangers. I just wish that the story had been as fantastic as the world this book painted.

I really, really wanted to love this book! I hate when a book I have such high expectations for lets me down in such a huge way. There was action and this book thankfully didn't drag, but the story is so overdone and predictable that I just couldn't find much enjoyment in it. If you enjoy this trope and don't mind a little instalove, then you may enjoy this book after all.