Publisher: Wednesday Books
Published: April 24 2018
Read as: Digital library copy
Average Goodreads rating: 4.08
My rating: 3
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 was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.”
I have a confession to make, I’m having a difficult time writing this review. Sky in the Deep gave me a lot of mixed feelings and sorting through them, trying to put those thoughts into coherent sentences, it proving challenging. So, instead of making them coherent and intelligent, in true Literary Weaponry fashion I shall throw my opinions at you wildly and see what sticks.
First of all, Eelyn, you go girl! That seventeen year old has guts, talent on the battlefield, and the intelligence to back it up. Sure, her emotions don’t seem to be entirely in check but show me a seventeen year old with her emotional baggage all nice and tidy and then we will talk. Heck, show me a full grown adult with their emotional ducks all in a row. You can’t. So, Go Eelyn for keeping your shit together against adversity.
I’ve noticed in several reviews that people have complained that after the first few chapters the action dies off until toward the end. You know, I actually kind of liked that. We start off with our brave warriors, fighting to the death for honor on the battlefield, their moral compass firmly intact. Then, uh-oh! Things go wrong, moral compass in flux, life falling apart, etc etc. It worked for me. We started off with our strong Eelyn, she broke emotionally and mentally, and then she was rebuilt. That, my friends, is the recipe for any good hero story.
Now, you might be saying, “Why Amanda! You are saying great things about this book! Why ever did you only give it a 3/5?” Well, let me tell you why.
The romance in the book was the most pointless sack of trash I have ever read. Let me see if I can explain without any dreaded spoilers. As our tough Eelyn is being rebuilt, she is given a love interest. The fellow himself isn’t bad, in fact I quite liked him as a character, but the romance between them was unnecessary. I understand that it was meant to show that Eeyln and her tribe can overcome the barriers of generations of hatred but at the same time it just wasn’t the right way to go about it, in my opinion. Eeyln could have gone through the same transformations without tossing a romantic partner at her. Her growing trust in this other tribe of people should have been about just that, trust and respect.
My other huge complaint was about the book’s conclusion and the lead up to it. We spend chapter after chapter with Eeyln, watching her development, only to be rushed haphazardly through the big battle at the end. It didn’t feel genuine and many characters felt like they were going completely against their established personalities in order to get through these scenes quickly. I would have loved for the last few chapters to have been stretched out, given more detail, to make the story feel more genuine. As it was, I was left wanting more battle, more perspective from another character, and less lovey emotion.
In conclusion, was this a good book? Sure. Absolutely. Was it great? No, but it could have been and that is the most frustrating bookish feeling.