Monday, September 13, 2021

Book Review: Sky in the Deep

Sky in the Deep 
by Adrienne Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely wonderful! I would put this right next to Graceling as an excellent YA/Teen novel that has cultural clashes, intrigue, sweet romance, and a guilty conscious to contend with. Adrienne Young has put together a wonderful story that progresses smoothly and without ever getting boring, or feeling too quick.

Our leading gal has a strong, reasonable, yet doubtful enough voice that she feels genuine. Her thoughts about love, honour, and loyalty are classic; and yet she is challenging at every turn to defend them to a certain degree. There is no lack of character growth here as our leading lady comes to realize that all people are, well... just people at the end of the day. Something our own society could certainly use a reminder of.

Just like in Graceling the romance here is very nuanced. It's in the background, not at the forefront. There would still be a plot and story to follow without the romance that blooms underneath. The nice thing about that is that if you wish to largely ignore the romance pieces you can without loosing the entire story. Near the end of course our romantic entanglements become more centered in the story. However our heroine's choices are far more intelligent and mature than usually found in YA/Teen books. And it is clear she is not choosing her path based on lust or obsession.

There are a lot of battles in Sky in the Deep. Without a doubt there is some gore (nothing too graphic) and certainly lots of death. We have two warring tribes that ritually meet on the battlefield every year and slaughter one another. The death is not made out to be elegant or romantic however. Instead it is dirty, brutal, and harsh. Young ensures that it is clear to the reader that no one wants the glory of battle (even if it seems like the younger children do) once they've been on the battlefield and seen firsthand what death truly looks like.

There are many core themes to Sky in the Deep that are put forth. The best emotion that is handled is guilt and honour. How one can feel both guilty for their actions; and dishonourable for their choices; even in the face of love. Getting over our prejudice is not just difficult; it's seemingly impossible. Young does an excellent job of showing it's not only possible; but often the key to survival. And while love does kind of save the day it doesn't feel cheesy or lame here. Our slow burning romance builds at the perfect pace and level to feel genuine and true. This gives credence to the idea that true love can lead someone to make different decisions than they otherwise might have; especially given the prejudice taught from the tribe.
This is a solid read, and an excellent YA choice for any child over the page of 12. There is implied sex but nothing erotic or descriptive that is inappropriate. Additionally said small sex scene is really well written and quite sweet; without being unrealistic. If you are concerned about the level of violence in Sky in the Deep I would assure you that it is no worse than 90% of the video games and teen shows on the market.
As always my biggest compliment is to keep a hard copy of a book. I cannot wait to put Sky in the Deep next to Graceling in my YA/Teen print collection!

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

This sounds really good, and I just realized I didn't have Graceling on my list yet, either, so on go both of them!