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Sky and Sea #2

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

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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.

327 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Adrienne Young

18 books10.7k followers
Adrienne Young is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the Sky and Sea duology, the Fable series, and Spells for Forgetting. When she’s not writing, you can find Adrienne on her yoga mat, on a walk in the woods, or planning her next travel adventure. She lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

For information on release, appearances, ARCs, giveaways, and exclusive content, sign up for the newsletter at https://adrienneyoungbooks.com/

Instagram: @adrienneyoungbooks

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5 stars
2,472 (18%)
4 stars
4,919 (35%)
3 stars
4,603 (33%)
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Displaying 1 - 29 of 2,500 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
August 30, 2019
there is no better feeling than seeing a lovely cover and discovering that the writing inside reflects that same beauty. its just always a relief when a book is gorgeous, both inside and out.

and its definitely the writing that made this story for me. young took a topic that im not really interested in (vikings) and had me so enamoured with their way of life, their gods and beliefs, their struggle and desire for peace. there is such an atmospheric quality to her words that makes me feel like im living the story, rather than just reading about it.

so how come im not giving this 5 stars if i seemed to enjoy it so much? well, that would be because of the pacing, particularly the ending. everything is resolved in about 10-20 pages, making it seem a bit rushed to me. this book is on the shorter side of things, so i would have loved to have a more extended conclusion. or just a generally consistent flow throughout.

overall, this is a great companion novel. i love when books are considered a series, but instead of being a continuation of one story, they are individual stories told in the same world, with overlapping characters and events. so any fan of 'sky in the deep' will love this. of that, i am positive.

also, a massive thanks to wednesday books/st. martins press for sending me an ARC!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
August 1, 2019
I'm a bit shocked, as I feel like this book read much more like a debut that then author's actual debut novel did. The world building is minimal, if non-existent, and the plot is predictable and felt lacking in purpose. Overall, it was a straight forward story without the tension I typically find in fantasy to drive the story forward. I think the idea is here, but unfortunately this one just fell flat for me; however, I will concede that I'm likely in the minority with my opinions. I'm all about giving this author another shot with her next book, though, as Sky in the Deep showcased the talent that Young clearly capable of.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,953 followers
October 25, 2019
This cover is absolutely gorgeous, but alas, I couldn’t get into it that much. I liked it well enough but didn’t love it enough to keep the hardback. I did get a cool bookmark for preordering it 😉

This is another one I would buy on sale for kindle

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

Buddy read with For Love Of A Book.

Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,767 followers
March 19, 2020
#1 Sky in the Deep — 3.75 Stars
#2 The Girl the Sea Gave Back — 3 Stars

I hate how conflicted it makes me feel when books would pointlessly drag on for so long only to knock me over with a feather at the end. I’m talking about that one final battle at the end, which was more than what I could’ve asked for. I get the saying, “good things come to those who wait,” but do you really have to make the lead up to climax painstakingly long and excruciatingly boring??

It was hard to pull through the first ⅔ of the book mainly bcs it felt vapid. Meanwhile, the last remaining part of it got my blood pumping and had me feeling exhuberant bcs of all the adrenaline that one last combat caused me. I’m torn between wanting to flush the content of this book down the toilet and frame its gorgeous cover on the wall of my room. To be fair, this book still has rich viking elements to it. However, the overall story sucks. It should be illegal that the author was able to get away with this!!

“The power of fate” is an insteresting twist, but ultimately also makes for a cheap cop out.

The concept behind “fate” that this book tries to explore is ridiculous. I believe in fate. But when you put blind faith into it and do everything it says, that’s reckless and stupid. I don’t mean any disrespect towards the viking culture. I’m aware that some people are superstitious and believe in things what other people would call “irrational”. I know they have their own religious system, customs, and practices.

However, in the case of this book, I just wish the author had made it more sensible and believable when she incorporated all of those “illogical” viking beliefs into her own craft. The way this whole ordeal was woven into the story just makes this book seem lazy. It’s like the author used this “fate” plot device as a cheap cop out. The viking elements should’ve made this book unique and intriguing instead of the opposite.

What is plot dynamic and character development when you can have battle, battle, and more battle??

The other one of my big problems for this book is the P A C I N G . Anything exciting barely happens during the first 60% of the book. I’m talking about non action sequences. While the battle scenes are all epic, I also wish there’d been more character development especially to Halvard and Tova’s characters. Bcs all the characters involved are constantly on the move, there hadn’t been enough exposure of Halvard and Tova's transition and inner struggles.

The pacing starts to move faster in the last 40% of the book. I honestly think these last moments were the most glorious. I have to give credits to the author bcs she’s really a genius when it comes to writing action packed/battle scenes. They’re always so intense, bloody, and brutal. They gave me goosebumps!! On the flip side, the ending is really rushed. It’s only resolved in ten to twenty pages, and that’s definitely not enough for me. I feel like the book suddenly hung up on me. It’s positively not a cliffhanger, but it’s also not clean cut and elaborate.

Overall Thoughts :

This book is nothing compare to the awesomeness that is Sky in the Deep. Maybe it’s my fault for comparing it in the first place, but it’s just something you couldn’t help noticing especially bcs this installment was supposed to be the companion novel to the previous hit release. Despite all of its faults with how slightly tedious the plot is, how slow the pacing is, how lacking the character development is, and how abrupt the ending is; I also couldn’t bring myself to hate this book completely.
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,097 reviews805 followers
November 28, 2020
“War is faithful to come looking for us time and again.”

Unpopular opinion coming in again everyone!

Imagine getting a beautifully wrapped gift, pretty ribbon, fabulous wrapping paper. Just oh so lovely. And then imagine your disappointment when you open the box only to find it completely empty.

That is this book.

Gorgeous cover. Plenty of lovely, descriptive prose. But sadly its narrative falls flat. Somehow, despite its best intentions, it is empty. Without heart. Without soul. Or if there is one, I can't find it.

Coming away from this book, I felt little to no connection to anything or anyone. There is just a sort of nothingness.

It has been so long so I don’t remember if Sky in the Deep was anything like this, but I don’t think it was because looking at my previous review I seemed to have rather enjoyed that book.

I found little enjoyment in this one. So either that book was superior or my taste has just changed between now and then.

This book was all about destiny. If things didn’t make sense, that's okay it was destined to be that way. Unlikely coincidences or encounters? Fate! Two people who never met feeling connected to each other? Fate! Destiny!

There’s very little romance, but I can’t even be mad because the constant reminder of their entwined destinies was annoying enough without adding full-on insta-love into the mix. There were definitely unexplained feelings there, which I think I was supposed to be rooting for but I did not. Halvard literally almost strangles her to death. That killed any sort of positives vibes I could or might have had for them. It’s not like it was a just an empty threat, and she knew for certain he wouldn’t hurt her. No, when she reflected on it she literally wonders if he would’ve killed her had Kjelda not interrupted in time. Like girl, if you have question if a man might’ve killed you or not he is not the one for you!

Even the rather epic battle scenes toward the end couldn’t save this book. Also that ending? What?

I received a free ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Big thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing for with a copy!
February 29, 2020
The battles were brutal and awesome

This was a bit slow to begin but it had to be with the background information. I didn’t read Sky in the Deep prior to this one and didn’t feel that I had to. I ended up truly loving this book. It reminded me quite a bit of Vikings on the History channel and Halvard was an awful lot like young Ragnar Lothbrok. I can only hope he stays that way, because Ragnar Lothbrok was awesome.

The story was about Tova who was found at six years old on the shore by a surrogate father, Jorrund. She was in a funeral boat that was partially burned out and it was obvious to him that she was a kyrr truthtongue which is a seer of sorts that uses stones like runes and reads them. He decides to use this to his political advantage and tells her that she was a sacrifice to the gods by her people. She grew up thinking that. The Svell whom she lived with hated her for being the messenger of bad things. They treated her like the things she saw where her fault even though they were the ones that would ask for the readings, mostly during dire situations or in times of war.

The battle scenes were brutal and like the Vikings TV show they were extremely detailed so that was another thing that reminded me of the same. But I was loving it. Tova tries to do what is right and nobody wants to let her, and nobody ever stands up for her. Though when it comes down to the major battle there is a scene where I found myself crying, then cheering out loud. It was an awesome moment. There were a few of those in this book. I love a lot of action.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Nasom.
195 reviews142 followers
June 30, 2020
Full Review

If the term "foreboding" was a book, this would be it. This book is about a girl who, through casting stones, can see into the future. This makes people use her as a tool to know what's going to happen. At the same time, they hate and fear her because they think she is the cause of the bad things that happen.

At the beginning of this, she sees destruction in the future of the people she's staying with, which leads to a series of events that happens in the rest of the book.

Another main character is a boy who belongs to a different clan. This book is basically about how the girl and boy are connected in someway, but we are not really sure how.

Some action happens at the beginning of this but then things slow down until the very end. With the way the foreboding/anticipation was setup, I was expecting more action. And also, i was expecting romance between the two main characters. Granted, they didn't know each other for that long but the book put a lot of emphasis on their connection that i thought it was going to lead to something.

I did enjoy learning more about the world, about the girl and where she really comes from and an explanation of what happened to her at the beginning of this. And ofcourse, i enjoyed the brief appearance and mention of the characters from book 1!!
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,894 followers
September 6, 2019
I feel like everything that kept me from loving SKY IN THE DEEP, was missing in THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK. This makes me very very happy.

I was sure this was going to be an easy three star read; lots to like but not quite getting me all the way there which, I mean, would’ve been a better result than book one. So colour me surprised by this rating.

This story takes place ten years after the events of SKY IN THE DEEP and, once again, we have warring clans. The characters we knew from book one have known peace and a time of rebuilding, rebirth, as a united people but now another group, the Svell, are stirring up trouble. Made worse by the fact that the Svell people are, themselves, divided. Additionally, they feel they are cursed by the existence of an outsider who lives among them, who washed up on their shores, and yet they also rely on her for her gifts at reading the runes, and predicting the future, as she is a Truthtongue.

It’s Tova’s prediction that sparks tragedy for Halvard’s people and we watch as they are on opposites sides of a war neither of them want. Halvard loses people he loves and Tova is blamed for things beyond her control as the fragile trust she has with the man who has raised her.. frays. Betrayal abounds with the Svell people and she’s tossed amongst them, lost, confused, and resigned.

Tova doesn’t know who she is, Halvard is bound so strongly with his family, both blood and found, and I actually really enjoyed bouncing back between their perspectives and the glimpses we got from their past. Their connection isn’t much, either, but yet feels.. present. There’s almost no romance here and yet we see possibility, potential, and that’s honestly where this book became more than I thought it would be.

I found the pacing to be pretty much perfect and I loved where the book, and our characters, ended up. This is a stronger book and the events, the loss and brutality, felt more real. The stakes somehow higher. The surprises (of which maybe there was only one but it was a good one) more surprising. I definitely have a question or two about how some things played out but those niggles are buried pretty far underneath my general contentment over the story.

If SKY IN THE DEEP wasn’t a book you were able to get on with, I would definitely recommend you pick up this sophomore offering. And if you loved SKY IN THE DEEP, I think you’ll be just as satisfied, if not more, by this follow-up in the author’s viking world.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Sharon.
506 reviews273 followers
May 22, 2019
It has been like 4 years since I won a Goodreads giveaway, so I’m still in shock. So happy it’s for this b/c I loved the 1st ☺️☺️

Here are some of my thoughts:
• This book can be quite brutal. I felt already a little weepy at the beginning of the book because everything seems to be going wrong. This book really goes there at times. I had no idea who was going to live, who was going to die, especially during these war times. I like that some of the characters are wise to know that no one should be looking for war. War comes to people. There is no point in causing war when it results in endless deaths. It sickens me to see Vigdis initiate war just because he wants Svell to be the strongest clan. He kills many just for something like that. This is so different from the 1st book where war stems from a history and cycle of prejudice, violence, and hate. However, I guess it is realistic to show both of these reasons for war – some wars stem from ingrained hatred, and some are caused by power-hungry leaders.
• I am happy that Harvard is the protagonist in this one. He was the one that I wanted the book to be about when the 1st book ended (and Myra – but it was nice to see here as a stronger, happier character after 10 years). His side of the story is more about him coming to terms with becoming the new leader of their clan. He feels unsure and incompetent but it is nice to see that everyone else from his clan see his potential. That is probably due to how he is innately a noble man with a good heart.
• The other half of this story is about Tova. There is something intriguing with the plot that is revolving around fate and what the Spinners have chosen. I like the Kyrr clan that is introduced here. It would have been nice to get to know more about their people because most of them come off as vague characters when the book is more focused on building the characters of Nadhir and Svell (but let’s be real – mainly Nadhir – because they are the clan that combined the 2 clans we met in the 1st book – Riki and Aska. I find this particular development super cool and I am glad that after 10 years, these people have found peace with each other.) I find Tova’s journey with the Svell to be somewhat repetitive and less interesting because we mainly see her following the Svell as their leader makes very bad, evil decisions in his power-hungry mind. And they mistreat her, and she worries about what the fate is telling her and she’s scared of screwing it up. It is a complex situation with Tova being an outsider wanting to fitting in, while her “father figure” has raised her but also used her. I can see why she is conflicted and why she follows along with what the Svell wants. However, I think reading her side of the story only gets truly interesting when she finally puts her foot down. And that really took a long while.
• I like the romance between Harvard and Tova – but in contrast to the 1st book, this book focuses way less on the romance. In this book, the romance is approached lightly. Harvard and Tova have very little scenes together, although they think about each other a lot. The romance is more about fate/destiny than actual developments or interactions. I prefer the latter, but I can see why the romance would be of the destined variety when this plot in general is so immersed in fate.
• Svell is primarily characterized by the power-hungry leader, Vigdis, Tova’s controlling yet conflicting “father figure,” Jorrund, and the grumpy, yet surprising kind bodyguard, Gunther. The former 2 are unpleasant to read about. Gunther is a surprise and I love him. He is MVP. I do wonder what the common folks of Svell think though. We don’t know much about them, except they all hate Tova. I find it interesting that everyone, particularly Vigdis, so easily blames Tova for their misfortunes – when she is mainly the seer/messenger/interpreter of fates. It’s even more baffling when Vigdis blames her for his own mistakes that led to bad outcomes. I hate it, but I suppose it is realistic in a way because some people love to put the blame on other people.
• I am so glad to see all my old favorites again – Eelyn, Fiske, and Iri. It is nice to see how they are doing after 10 years.
• I love Aghi and hearing how he has united the 2 clans and has tied everyone together.
• I trulyyyy appreciate that this book and the 1st focus on the strong family and community bonds. The relationships I see in these books are so real and deep, and make me want to root for everyone to be happy and alive. I absolutely love seeing Harvard reuniting with his family in this book and seeing how much everyone cares about each other.
• The cover looks even better in real life. There is some cool gloss/texture or whatever you call it on the sea area.

This book has made me think a lot – about the intricacies of fate and war. Young has shown characters who react to fate and war in realistic ways – there is a whole spectrum of how each responds to them. I like Harvard, especially seeing how much he has grown since the 1st book. Tova has a more complicated plot – but it does fall a little short for me in terms of her developments. Still, I have rooted for her since the beginning. I like seeing her connection with Kyrr and learning more about that. Overall, I give this 3.5 stars. I look forward to reading more books by this author because she really knows how to tug at the heart strings with characters and their relationships with each other. I love, love the strong family theme in these 2 books.

**Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for the ARC!**

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level? Other things to note?
Favorite scenes?
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,423 reviews215 followers
July 11, 2019
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the first book.. so it isn't really surprising that I fell in love with this one as well.

The girl the Sea Gave Back was so entertaining! It was definitely a page turner and made me fall in love with Tova and Halvard. Now I'm not really a fan of the back and forth with flashbacks because they don't always work in books. Yet, it definitely did in this one. It made everything clearer in a way that I wasn't expecting. It also made me fall even more in love with Tova's character because she is most definitely a bad ass.

Speaking of Tova, oh lord she was aammaazziinngg! She had moments when I had cheered for her because no one should be treated that way. I felt so bad for her during those moments so I was like.. ya know karma is a bitch but I feel like Tova is a bigger one when you try to cross her. Or ya know.. hit her in any way, shape, or form. YA KNOW?

Then there's Halvard, and ugh I loved his parts! I was craving more interaction between him and Tova though but I guess I can accept what I got in this book - maybe? Not quite sure on that yet. I especially want to know more about this damn cliffhanger - because hot damn, I hate those so much! UGH, I NEED MORE DAMMIT - so I'm expecting another book ASAP!

Overall, everyone should read and love this.
Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
216 reviews111 followers
September 8, 2019
"Augua ór tivar. Ljá mir sýn
"Eye of the gods. Give me sight"

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5

The Girl the Sea Gave Back was the mystical companion novel to Sky in the Deep, set in the same vivid Viking-inspired world that told a story woven by fate, destiny and omens of the future. Unlike Sky in the Deep, this book was less focused on the theme of family and placed more emphasis on finding a place to belong and coming into one's own. It was a poignant tale which I really liked.

The story was told from the points of view of two characters: Halvard and Tova. In Sky in the Deep, Halvard was eight-years-old and it was nice to see him as a grown man in this book. He remained just as kind, brave and genuine as he always was and I loved watching him grow and develop into a worthy leader. I also liked briefly meeting other characters from Sky in the Deep like Eelyn, Iri and Fiske and getting to see the family they made together. Mýra was also in this book and I liked getting to know her even more- I think a spin-off story based on her would be really interesting!
"The stones don't lie"

Tova was a member of the Kyrr clan, a people who believed in the power of fate and had markings all over their skin which told their stories. When she was six-years-old Tova washed up in a boat all by herself near the Svell clan and was taken in by a man who lived there. She had no memory of her life before except from the knowledge that she was a Truthtongue and could read the future in rune stones. The Svell were always suspicious of her and her place among them was precarious. When she read their futures they blamed her for the outcomes despite the fact that she was only conveying their fates not influencing them.

Tova really wanted a place to belong and she was tired of being treated like the enemy. She slowly realised that she couldn't be blamed for the fates of others and no matter what she told them they would always twist the signs and believe in the future they wanted. She learnt to fight for who and what she thought was right and found her happiness. However, I would have liked her to have had more character development and more explanation behind her backstory.
"War is easy. It comes again and again, like waves to a shore. But I lived most of my life driven by hate and I don't want that for my grandchildren"

Overall, I really liked The Girl the Sea Gave Back although I think it could have been longer and included more character and plot development. The world building, the themes of fate and reading the future in rune stones were brilliantly done and it was a powerful, magical read.

Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Anja H..
760 reviews459 followers
September 17, 2019

Okay, this wasn't bad at all, but it just wasn't as good as Sky in the Deep in my opinion.
It took a REALLY long time for me to get into the story and the characters and it was only during the last half that I started to enjoy myself.

The dual perspective just didn't sit well with me. I know it's because Tova and Halvard were separated throughout 80% of the book, but I would've preferred seeing things unfold through one of them instead of both, because it made some things overlap and I couldn't really connect with either one of them the way I wanted to.
I also expected this to have more romance, but the romance was pretty much non-existant here. I didn't feel the spark between them, which is a shame, because I love a good slow-burn romance.
I did love reading about the characters from the previous book, like Eelyn, Iri and Fiske (and ofcourse Halvard), and what became of them!

I wish there would have been a little more action, especially in the first half, but the epic battle in the second half made up for that! The ending was also a little abrupt because I have no idea what it meant lol.

Received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader).
400 reviews1,289 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 5, 2019
Holy shit. This is the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen. AND MAGIC! I’M SO EXCITED.

LOLLLLLL ^ Ignorant me

DNF 50%

I’m sorry, but… was Adrienne Young murdered and then her murderer took over her author life and wrote this book?! It’s the only explanation I can come up with for what a disappointed this book was. I guess I should say half of this book because I DNFed at 50%. I wanted to DNF at 25% but I tried to push through because I got an ARC but you know what, GIRL HAS JOB APPLICATIONS TO FILL OUT. I don’t have time for this.

The whole time I was reading I was confused about the world, and hello half of it was from Sky in the Deep but I was STILL confused. I didn’t think I had to reread that one since it’s a companion novel but apparently yes? Okay, so the world is from a different perspective. Did the world expand? No. I learned nothing new about this world even though we were with a different clan and Tova has cool future seeing powers. BUT OF COURSE SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HER MAGIC OR BACKGROUND SO THEN I KNOW NOTHING OF THEM. And yet, she somehow knows how to call the Spinners?! HOW DOES SHE KNOW THIS IF SHE WAS ABANDONED AND KNOWS NOTHING?! Of the book that I read, it read like I was supposed to just already know everything about the world? The Spinners and the All Seer were thrown around a lot but it took a while to state what they actually were. Tova knows nothing, I know nothing, I’m super confused the whole time.

And don’t even get me started on the magic system. Which was nonexistent and surprise. Confusing.

The timeline was weird and hard to follow, with the lot jumping around. Present, back ten years, present, back six years. Okay, usually this isn’t an issue for me, but it just didn’t work. I’m blaming it on Adrienne’s murderer.

The characters were meh. Like WOAH once again, who the fuck wrote Tova?! She is so… small and scared, and boring. Halvard was whatever. No one stood out.

The writing was just way too flowery and over the top. And I'm someone who loves prose but.. for example

“Because he was looking at me again. Right at me

“I looked up into his eyes. Because they were still fixed on mine.”

“He looked right into me”

These are all on the same page... -_-

50% nothing happened and everything was mediocre.


Never again.

*ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
August 5, 2020
Definitely enjoyed this one more than Sky in the Deep.

Another Norse tale from Adrienne Young and it begins with the funeral ceremony of a young girl child who is given to the sea- believed dead and given over to the Fates. Miles away, a Svell man comes upon the young child and takes her back to his village. They recognize her tattoos and use her as a Kyrr "Truthtongue." As Tova grows, the villagers fear what the gods might be playing at and what it means for their survival. Meanwhile, a warrior and chief in training named Halvard and his tribe grow closer to war. Both Tova and Halvard tell the tale and their various flashbacks that fill in their backstories.

I definitely enjoyed the buildup and revelations more in this book and the cinematic scope of the battle scenes definitely kept me invested. Although there is attraction between Tova and Halvard, I am so glad that it didn't descend into a mere YA love story. I look forward to the next installment. I have nominated this book for breathtaking cover of 2019.

Goodreads review published 25/08/19
Publication Date 03/09/19

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,766 reviews231 followers
August 18, 2020
At 50% I DNF the book. I loved "Sky in the Deep", so I had high expectatives for liking this one... but it wasn't to be. I didn't connect to the characters, the writing got me lost sometimes with the time jumps and I felt like the plot wasn't all clear or for me...

We follow two main characters from rival clans: Tova, who comes from another clan and is hated on the clan she is now because she is a fortune teller and they kinda fear/hate it; and Halvard, the kid from the Rikki clan from the previous book who is now all grown up.
They find themselves in the middle of a war between their clans but they sort of refuse to kill each other because there is something going on between them. Tolva feels it more mystically at the beginning, like Halvard is sth else, and he is kinda attracted to her, but to me it fall flat.
The presence of a character from the same clan as Tolva with Halvard felt forced and I didn't know why they didn't make him to tell who she is (at least not before I DNFed the book) and why he recognizes her...
To me it was a very confusing lecture, with no clear stand points and with characters that didn't caught my attention not hold it.

EDIT: This 2nd time I did finnish the book but it isn't a memorable read in any way. It would be an easy read if it wasn't for those moments in which things were confussing and you re read them. I.e. a character gives his younger brother (Halvard) an axe. Halvard then hugs the axe. The brother kneels in front of him, and Halvard takes his hand. The brother picks him up and Halvard crosses his arms behind his brother neck. What about the axe? Yes, I know. Maybe he used the other hand to hold it and then crossed it behind his brother neck. Or maybe it fell to the floor. Or maybe he put it in his belt. Because it wasn't mentioned.
Profile Image for Ewe Linka.
Author 1 book50 followers
August 3, 2020
The story is of a girl, Tova, who was washed ashore and now casts the runes for the Svell and of a boy, Halvard, who's on his way to a leadership position.
I hadn't read Sky in the Deep, which has some of the characters, I think therefore I found it a bit slow and confusing to begin with which got better with the second half of the book.
The storyline felt a little flat and I wished for more interaction and dialogue as not much has happened except for the ongoing conflict and general idea of confusion, but the prose was absolutely stunning and I inhaled every word, wishing there was more to it.
The cover is absolutely beautiful and so is the style of writing and descriptions; felt almost magical.
I am giving this 3.5 stars, bumping it up to 4 :)
Profile Image for Rian *fire and books*.
519 reviews148 followers
July 8, 2020
The cutest little fantasy romance that I needed right now.

Okay it’s not really cute, there’s some fucked up shit that happened and like, grown ass men blaming teenage girls for the problems they created, but I liked this a lot.

It was exactly the book I needed to read at the right time. It’s not perfect, but it had me teary eyed plenty of times. There was magic, Viking battles, savagery, love, and it was what I needed.

I will say don’t read this immediately after Sky In The Deep. Give yourself distance and you’ll enjoy this a lot more with some space from the companion novel.
Profile Image for warhawke.
1,331 reviews2,013 followers
August 21, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Type: Standalone book from Sky In the Deep collection
POV: First Person - Dual
3.75 stars

Since she could remember, Tova had always been an outcast. Growing up among the Svell she was shunned and feared for her ability. When an innocent move led her to Halvard, a young man from a rival clan, she never thought it would take her to a path that would change the course of their lives and the people around them.

It had been a long time since I’d prayed to Thora or Sigr. Not because I didn’t believe in the gods, but because I wasn’t sure they listened.

I liked how Tova’s past was shrouded in secrets and revealed slowly throughout the book. I enjoyed seeing Halvard’s growth but I felt he didn’t reach his full potential. Both of them had individual appeal. However, the connection between them needed to be stronger because it felt a little detached.

The Nādhir would follow me into the mist of the forest when the sun rose. And only the gods knew if we’d ever come out.

One of the most interesting things about this book is how both of them were underdogs with heavy responsibilities. I love reluctant heroes kind of characters and watch them learn to embrace it. I also loved a few secondary characters from both sides.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a story of rising up and righting the wrong. It would appeal to readers who enjoy Viking influenced YA Fantasy.

Books in the series:
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

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Profile Image for Brittany.
900 reviews118 followers
September 5, 2019
I really really loved the way this book was written- and I enjoyed the story... but it was missing something and I can’t really figure out what just yet....
Profile Image for aphrodite.
414 reviews867 followers
August 23, 2019
**thank you to netgalley & the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review**

wow, wow, wow was this horrible.

so if you guys aren’t familiar with my rating system: one star is a book I would have DNF’ed if not for xyz circumstances. because this was an ARC and it was a most anticipated read of the year, I trudged through.

let me emphasize this clearly: I. Wasted. My. Time.

I’m sorry to be so blunt but this was a complete fuckery of a book. there was hardly ANY plot what so ever besides the usual “warring clans” trope. the characters blended together so completely that I couldn’t even remember who’s chapter I was reading. there would be whole ass time jumps in the middle of chapters I had no idea WHAT I was reading. there were SO many names and places thrown at you, you never could even learn about the world to understand it. how a book can be so info dumpy yet subsequently teach you nothing at all is beyond me.

and the writing style OH MY GOD. it’s the kind of writing that tries so hard to be flowery but the author can only write at a high school level. I know that is harsh but it’s the only way I can explain it.

and you know what I do feel a little bad about how harsh I’m being but I genuinely don’t understand how this is being published. I know this is a companion to her previous work but I heard okay things about sky in the deep??

this seems like a sally thorne scenario where the author just forgot how to outline, plot, characterize, and just simply WRITE a novel. I don’t understand.

this has got to be one of the worst books I’ve read so far in 2019 and I’m very sad about it :(
Profile Image for Taylor.
436 reviews137 followers
October 25, 2020
Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing a stunning finished copy in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know y'all. As you can see from below I was more than ready for this companion novel, but it didn't live up to the standards set by SitD in my opinion. I'm still very happy I read it and that I got to spend time in Young's viking world, but I just wish the content matched the beauty of the cover. Full RTC.

Original thoughts: Let’s pretend I wasn’t already sold on this author, this synopsis, or this title....(I know it’s hard to fathom, but just play along)...so here I am “on the fence” 😉and then they publishing team drops THIS COVER on me?????

Like give my wallet a chance, y’all 😘

But for real when can I buy this??
Profile Image for H.
274 reviews26 followers
September 28, 2019

What is going on in 2019? So many of my highly anticipated YA new releases have been flops, and sadly, THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is the latest addition to that list.

Maybe I was too critical, but I’m sorry to say SEA didn’t measure up to the expectations I had after SKY IN THE DEEP became one of my favorite books last year.


- There was no motivation for the warfare that is the central conflict of the book. Vigdis, brother of the Svell chieftain, seems to hate the Nādhir (a clan who have been peaceful for the last ten years) for no logical reason that is ever revealed in the story. At the beginning of the book, Vigdis raids a Nādhir village (for fun I guess, because again, no motivation or reasoning) and afterwards Tova is made to use her Truthtongue ability to predict the future of the Svell. Vigdis expects retaliation, so they go to war because he interprets Tova's message to mean the Svell will be destroyed by the Nādhir. It's a really sloppy way of getting the main characters together, in my opinion.

- Tova and Halvard were challenging to connect with because they felt completely flat as characters. The frequent flashbacks and stylistic choice to depict the same scene from dual perspectives didn't help either. Everything we know about Tova and Halvard is surface-level at best: Halvard is not a confident leader but will fight for his people regardless, and Tova feels… outcast? Honestly, I couldn’t glean anything about this girl. She's devoid of emotion and personality. She’s fairly meek, not a warrior like Eelyn, and we see just a glimpse of her supposed skill with the bow in the final battle. Added to that, Tova knows nothing about her Truthtongue ability beyond it being a gift from one of the gods, and it's never explored in the story. Her ability should have been THE central exploration of the book instead of clan warfare. Missed opportunity.

- Disappointed and a bit puzzled by the absence of Eelyn, Fiske, and Iri. They were integral to Halvard’s upbringing and surely would have added a much-needed layer of depth to his narrative but are conveniently offsite for most of the story, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

- There was an info-dump quality to the geography with SEA. I think the publisher should consider including a map in future printings, especially if Adrienne Young plans to continue developing this Scandinavian-inspired region. Geographical context is important in understanding settlements, clan culture, and warfare, but it was challenging to imagine on my own because the details were too vague. I used this reviewer-created map made by Sydney Smith.

- And finally, WHERE IS THE ROMANCE? SEA had even less romance than SKY! Tova and Halvard see each other a grand total of three instances in the entire book and the longest span of time they are physically in the same place is during the final battle. On the last page it's implied that Tova decides to forgo returning home with her true clansmen and stays with Halvard after knowing him for mere hours -- yes, HOURS -- because fate. Excuse me, that's nonsense.

Also, the book straight up ends with a cliffhanger. Lovely.

I can’t help but wish we had gotten a story in which Tova had grown up with the Kyrr, who are the most intriguing clan we’ve been introduced to in this world. This way she would have fully understood her powers (which means readers would’ve understood them too!!!) and could’ve set out on her own, say, if shown by the stones. Maybe she’d wind up with the Nādhir, where they ask her to cast the stones for them, and they’d eventually learn of an impending battle with the warmongering Svell. Meanwhile, Tova and Halvard could have a relationship that we'd actually get to see develop over time.

Unfortunately, SEA feels more like a rocky debut than a shining followup to SKY. Adrienne Young was very open about her struggles with writing SEA over the last year and a half via her Instagram, and I think those struggles are pretty evident in the storytelling. In the middle of revisions for SEA, I seem to recall she got the idea for her next book, FABLE, which makes me think she focused more energy into that story. I do sympathize, but I’m still disappointed at what could have been an epic “fated lovers” story.

While SEA is not as strong as SKY, Adrienne Young’s writing is still wonderfully scenic and moody, and her research is evident in the overall aesthetic quality of the book. Hoping this was just a misstep and am looking forward to FABLE.


11/2018: Pretty proud of myself for correctly guessing six months ago that AY’s next project would be about Halvard as a young adult. So pumped!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Breanna.
522 reviews176 followers
July 1, 2020
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

ARC provided by the publisher through a giveaway.

3.5 stars ✨ Buddy read with Nikki at Synopses by Sarge! 💕

Sky in the Deep quickly became one of my favorite books after I finished reading it, and so The Girl the Sea Gave Back was something I was highly anticipating. Adrienne Young continues to be a wonderful storyteller and has crafter another novel full of strong characters and powerful writing, however it’s quite capture my attention the same way Sky in the Deep did.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a companion novel rather than a sequel to Sky in the Deep, so it is entirely possible to read this alone. I absolutely loved the Viking-inspired world Adrienne Young created in her previous work and she does an amazing job expanding on that world even more in this one with the introduction of new clans and traditions.

As for the rest of the book, it fell kind of flat. And trust me, no one is more disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this that much as I am. The majority of the book had very little action and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It was missing a lot of the tension and angst that made Sky in the Deep so compelling.

I also didn’t connect as much to the characters. I really enjoyed Halvard and his point of view, but for some reason I couldn’t seem to connect with Tova. I will say that I really enjoyed how Adrienne Young handled the romance aspect (if you can even call it that?). There were many times when she could have pushed those characters together romantically, however, I’m glad she avoided that because it would have come off as forced and inorganic. Although, she does give a teaser at the end of the story that hints towards a possibility of something!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back was missing many of the captivating elements found in Sky in the Deep, and I was supremely disappointed that I couldn’t love this more. This was a very slow moving story without a lot of action or payoff that didn’t keep my attention. Adrienne Young is an amazing writer and I look forward to more stories from her in the future!
Profile Image for Nerdread.
434 reviews42 followers
March 4, 2020
2.7 stars

I feel conflicted, on one hand I loved being back to this Viking type world but on the other hand, I feel dissatisfied with the story, characters development and plot. After reading and loving The Sky in the Deep, I expected to enjoy this book as much if not more, but sadly it fell flat. while I liked the characters and adore seeing old characters again, I felt like the world has not developed much. Things in the story were happening because they fit the plot and were quite predictable. I'm sad with the way the story was laid out and it felt like relationships were not built rather the book expected the readers to see this almost in "fated mate" kind of way and accept the relationship even though the two characters barely had romantic development of interaction that solidify their devotion to each other.

I hate being disappointed with books I actually wanted to enjoy and love. 😭
Profile Image for Aly.
2,727 reviews
July 8, 2019
Ooh this was so good! I loved the first book and this was a great sequel. The back and forth between Tova and Halvard, plus the flashbacks really moved the story along and made it easy to read this all in one sitting. The way the relationship between Tova and Halvard unfolded was unique, just these small moments that meant so much. I enjoyed the mystical aspects of the truth tongue, casting the stones, and fate. We also got some glimpses of the characters from Sky in the Deep which made me happy!
Great book!
Profile Image for Lisa Marie 🌙.
114 reviews8 followers
November 16, 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was not able to get into Sky in the Deep but really wanted to give this one a try and glad I did.
I love when an author can write a book so well and in depth that you can see the scene. I felt like I was there in the battles. I felt the emotions Tova felt. Just perfect!
Very well written and recommend!
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