This is where I belonged. Spilling Riki blood. And Iri was Riki now.
Published: April 24th, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 352 (Kindle)
Series: N/A – Standalone
For generations, we’d met in Aurvanger. The Riki and the Aska. But it was to draw each other’s blood. This time, it would be to save us all.
OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
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.
First and foremost, than you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this early! I always love and appreciate the chance to review books early. Second, I want to throw out that no one is more disappointed here than I am. I had such high hopes for this and the reviews from other bloggers made me actually jump with joy when I received the email saying I got this. But, as you can tell from my less than stellar rating, there were some problems.
Let’s start with what I did like; the characters and the writing. I don’t necessarily know if I liked Eelyn on her own, but I liked her interactions with other characters. I really like Inge and Halvard, and I liked the way Eelyn was with them through the ending of the book. Seeing Eelyn’s relationship with Iri, who was half Aska and half Riki, was really interesting. It was like their relationship was a direct reflection of the book as a whole. The romance that was blossoming between Fiske and Eelyn was probably this book’s saving grace to me because at one point I was only reading to see how this would play out. And I’m sure a lot of people are going to gripe about the fact that she’s falling in love with her captor but it wasn’t a Stockholm Syndrome thing at all. It seems weird, but I think the only characters I did like were the Riki characters.
The writing was great. It was beautiful and intricate and I think had this been a different book I could have really liked this author. Depending on what her next book is I’ll definitely be giving her another chance. I think when it came to this book it was more content that I disliked than it was anything else.
Now on to what I didn’t like; the plot and pacing. Here’s the thing, the book starts out fast. Like right in the first three or four chapters you’re thrust into battle with Eelyn and she sees her brother and then she’s kidnapped. And that’s it. That’s basically the most exciting thing about this book aside from the romance aspect. I remember I was exactly 25% through and all I could think was “I’m literally so bored”. This book was like 10% fighting and romance and interesting bits and 90% just pointless conversations, garlic crushing, and walking. The pacing was wildly off the mark and it meant that all the action was clustered in the beginning and ending of the book, making the whole middle super boring aside from like two or three pages.
I can’t express to you how boring this book was. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one was because I liked the romance and the characters and I finished it just to see how it ended for them. The third clan, the Herja, are played up to be these ghosts that just slip into the camps and kill everyone and leave and you’re left thinking this is some supernatural clan of actual ghosts. But you never learn anything about them! Like nothing at all. They just fight them, that’s it. The one thing that could have been interesting is instead ignored and forgotten.
Be advised that this is a standalone and thus there isn’t some major cliffhanger ending, but I kind of wish there was because then the ending would have actually been interesting. I’m actually really proud of myself for pushing through with this and finishing it for this review. I’m glad so many people were obsessed with this but it just wasn’t for me and I’m really sad about it, I wanted to be wowed but this book just really missed the mark.
Sky in the Deep Series