Published: April 2018 - Wednesday Books
Genres: Fantasy / young adult
Triggers/Content Advisory: Frequent gore and violence / mild sexual innuendo
The hype for this book has been unreal. I hadn't read a single negative review before I started reading. I had no doubt I would love it as much as everyone else seemed to.
I buddy read with the lovely Di from Book Reviews By Di. Have a look at her review HERE.
Young's writing is simple, but good. Her dialogue is crisp, there's no info dumping, and it's easy to get lost in. I love her writing style. The only problem I have is the repetition in the first half of the book; Eelyn keeps rehashing her past with Iri and going on about the same stuff. But that's also a matter of plot...
The plot isn't outstanding. I absolutely love how action packed it is and how brutal, fast-paced, and well written the fighting scenes are, but otherwise there isn't much of a plot. It's very episodic, the scenes don't tie together strongly, and the incidents are random. There's no sense of urgency (except during the literal battles) and the plot happens to Eelyn, rather than the other way around. It's not her choices that set the story on its path; for the entire book she is responding to what's happening, instead of driving it. That's frustrating.
The major plot points are also kinda predictable.
But the world building is incredible. Young immerses you in a life as sadistic as it is breathtaking, and I love how richly the lives and cultures of these Vikings are described. Their lifestyles truly come alive. Every scene is bitterly tangible, extraordinarily well researched, and the vividness sucks you under. In a twisted kind of way, I love this Viking world. But I don't envy it ;)
The main characters - Eelyn, Iri, and Fiske - all experience subtle, gradual development throughout the course of the story, and on one hand it's good writing. But I also think it's too subtle. I think their experiences could've been more hard-hitting, and that there should've been more of a big deal made out of what they're going through. Their internal conflict is too understated. Otherwise, though, they're okay characters. I like Eelyn's devotion to her people, her stubbornness, and how unapologetic she is when it comes to who she is and what she does. I like her relationship with her brother, her strong friendship with Myra, her loving connection with her father, and her slow-burning romance with Fiske.
But again, none of these relationships made me go wow. None of them burst from the pages. They could be emphasised more - and better. The secondary characters are great, as well, but they're also never fully realised, either.
Sky In The Deep is a bloodthirsty, beautiful tale of torn relationships, blind loyalty, and what we think we know. The world is riveting, the action is electrifying, but the characters and relationships, good as they are, need more depth. The plot lacks strength, as well.