At face value, this book has stuff right up my alley: Fantasy setting with historical vibes. Badass beyond belief heroine. Enemies to lovers trope. And for once, as I hoped, these things made an awesome book. I thought I would like it, but despite expecting that, I am still surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Eelyn knows nothing else but the brutal conflict between the Aska and Riki clans. Fight, kill, survive, repeat. Her worldview is shaken when in battle she runs into her brother who died several years ago. He’s fighting for the rival clan, and Eelyn finds herself captured by the enemy.
I’m sure Sky in the Deep isn’t the first YA to be Viking inspired…nor will it be the last. It’s the first one, however, that I’ve read. And since it’s really more fantasy with Viking vibes, than Vikings with fantasy vibes, the setting is quite unique in comparison to everything else I’ve read. I enjoyed the setting of this book, and enjoyed diving into a YA fantasy that wasn’t focused on royals (mostly–clan leadership isn’t quite the same). Another bonus? This book is a standalone! I love my series, but it’s refreshing to get the occasional fantasy story wrapped up in one book.
Eelyn follows in the path of Katniss Everdeen…ruthlessly badass, and a difficult person to interact with at the start. Unlike Katniss, she shows a bit more capacity to be vulnerable. I really loved Eelyn because she showed so many dimensions. A lot of YA books with the ruthlessly badass heroines also have the heroine incapable of showing emotion. Eelyn showed emotion, and tears, throughout the book…I found myself appreciative when it happened. Though prickly, she ultimately ended up being a well-rounded person.
This book is in the first person, and in reading under this POV, I realized it’s been some time since I read a book in first person. At least I think so? It seems like YA had a wave of first person POV a few years ago, and now switched to third person. That, or I just pick out books in the third person these days. (If you’ve noticed any trends in POV, sound off in the comments!) Either way, I enjoyed the change of pace. I think that’s what really got me into this book…it’s a change of pace from today’s regular YA in so many ways.
Finally, I loved the romance. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that I love, or even readers of this post (see the first paragraph) that I love a good enemies to lovers storyline. I live for relationships like that between Eelyn and Fiske. I loved their dynamic, and it had me anticipating every page.
Sky in the Deep wasn’t necessarily an unexpected excellent read, but it did surprise just how much it impressed me. If you want something different, and like the tropes I’ve gushed about in this post, this is a book you should pick up ASAP. Thanks Owlcrate for including it in the May subscription box!