Blurb from Goodreads:
Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
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.
I honestly haven’t read a novel about Vikings before. This concept is just rare specially in YA so this one is really refreshing to me. It is unique despite some tropes. It is action-packed with a shred of romance. It has fierce friendships, amazing family bond, and just the tiniest bit of drama to add some more color into it. And the best part? It is a standalone!
This book is not for the squeamish though. Its world is violent and brutal, and the author is pretty descriptive. I mean, someone’s eyeball has been forcibly taken out of its socket somewhere in the book! Almost every character is a lethal killing machine—they’re Vikings, after all. With an age-old blood feud between two clans, battles were always fought throughout the book. There’s no shortage of bloodbath and epic battle scenes. Those with weaker stomach might not like this very much.
Our main character, Eelyn, isn’t like any other heroes I’ve read before. She’s a warrior. And a fierce one at that. But she’s also very loving and loyal to her clan specially to those she loves. Even though she’s vicious in the battlefield, there’s a side of Eelyn that is kind and compassionate. At the end of every battle she’s just a sister who still mourns her brother’s death and a daughter who fears of loosing her father in battle.
“We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.”
Eelyn’s relationship with her family and friends is really admirable. In a world that’s full of gory violence, they’re like Eelyn’s bubble of peace. Thankfully, when the romance started to surface, it didn’t weaken Eelyn’s bond with her family. Love didn’t change her priorities—which is to protect her clan and her loved ones—unlike most YA protagonists who tends to forget about these things when in love. Eelyn’s growth is pretty amazing. She had gone through some experiences that are somewhat eye-opening for her. She goes from someone determined to kill as many Riki warrior as she could to someone who is more empathetic towards them.
I could still see a young Eelyn standing on the beach turned into the wind, a sword in one hand and an axe in the other. I hadn’t lost her. I hadn’t buried her. I’d only let her change into something new.
The worldbuilding was quite simple but it didn’t fail to give us a perfectly clear picture of the warring clans, their lifestyles, their beliefs, and their culture. And you can see the amount of research being put into this book as you read. Coupled with a crisp and impressive writing style and fast pacing, it’s easy to get lost into the story.
Sky in the Deep is a delightful combination of action, romance, emotional friendship, and blind loyalty. And filled with battle cries, and blood, and axes. Although there were some parts in the book wherein the energy died down a little bit, it was easy to forgive because the story overall was very engrossing. This would be perfect for fans of the TV series, Vikings.