Book Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young (eARC)

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Publication Date: 03 September 2019

Genre: YA – Fantasy

Pages: 336

Publisher: Wednesday Books

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

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. 

I recently read Sky in the Deep, and I was blown away with how well done that debut novel was. It had incredibly lush scenes, fantastic world building, a strong female lead who could hold her own in battle, complex characters, beautiful mythology, etc. The list could go on and on. Therefore, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Girl the Sea Gave Back because I was dying to get back to this wonderful world.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back takes place ten years after the Riki and the Aska had to join forces to battle against the ruthless Herja clan. The two clans are now one united known as the Nadhir. The Nadhir have a new enemy to face…the Svell. It’s not quite clear why they are feuding, but an usurp during the peace talks makes the clans even more desperate to spill blood.

The story follows two people:

Tova, a girl who has been gifted with the ability to see the future by reading stones (a truthtongue). She is a captive of the Svell since her gifts can be exploited to their gain. She’s particularly skilled with a bow and arrow, which comes in handy considering the amount of times that people try to kill.

Halvard, a side character from Sky in the Deep…Fiske’s little brother. He is now the chieftain of the Nadhir and leads his clan to battle against the Svell.

That being said, I am so disappointed in the execution of this book. I was not able to connect with either Tova or Halvard because their character arcs lacked depth. The two of them were meant to be the main characters in this story, but they felt like side characters to me. Also, the author strayed away from talking about Eelyn, Fiske, and Iri, but all three of these characters were integral to Halvard’s upbringing, so I desperately wanted to see how they would interact with Halvard as an adult/chieftain.

This book definitely read more like a debut rather than the follow up novel since the plot seemed underdeveloped and we had a lack of character driven plot. While I definitely was underwhelmed by this one, I do still plan on reading the next book by this author to see if maybe this book was just a fluke.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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