***Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young from NetGalley through Wednesday Books for review purposes. Thank you to Wednesday Books for sending me a gifted copy of the finished product!
When I heard that Adrienne Young was coming out with a book similar to her debut, Sky in the Deep, I knew I absolutely needed to read it! It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. After a bit of a hiccup in my reading, I was finally able to devour it in a short time.
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.
One of the things I enjoyed immensely about Sky in the Deep was that it was a standalone book. As much as I love series, good standalones are treasured finds, so I was really happy that this wasn’t a sequel, but it was still set in the same world.
There didn’t seem to be a lot of world building for this story. It wasn’t really anything that relied on the first book, but I’ll admit it was a bit difficult to get into at first. A lot the history unfolded through the story as the main character, Tova, found out about things herself, which was an interesting choice. I liked that it was more real time for finding things out, but I feel like a little bit more background might’ve been helpful in having it less confusing.
I enjoyed that it was mostly a story about finding a place in the world. There was a very slight element of fated romance, but it was faint and towards the very end. I like that it wasn’t one of the big strings that tied the two main characters together.
Adrienne really has a gift for her writing flow poetically. Her settings really work well because the people whom she writes about trust in nature and are people of the Earth. They take from it, but also give thanks. You can see a lot of Adrienne’s personality through her writing. I get the sense of mindfulness and being at peace with her surroundings. I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy reading her books so much. They bring me to a tranquil place.
I gave this book a solid 4 stars.