This weekend, in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, I found myself drawn to the beautiful cover of the book Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Now, I don’t ever only buy books just for their covers, so I proceeded to open the book and read the jacket cover. This cover featured a blurb about the story, promising war, romance, and a kick-ass female protagonist. I finished the book a few hours ago and I’m disappointed to say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The first few chapters of the book were wonderful and fast moving. The main character, Eelyn, is in the middle of a fast-paced action scene when she spots her supposedly dead brother among the crowd. She goes after him, and this leads to the rest of the book. Once she is captured by her brother, now part of the rival clan, the Rikis, the pace of the story starts to drastically slow. Although I finished the book in one day, I found it easy to put it down and go to bed at a reasonable time.
While the author does a good job of explaining what’s going on and describing the surroundings, there is a clear lack of suspense building. Everything in this book is straightforward and to the point. There wasn’t any foreshadowing or plot twists, much to my dismay.
On the other hand, the main character and her thoughts are portrayed in a good way, making the protagonist easy to like. Eelyn, as a character, grows and develops in sync with the events in the book; her character arch is predictable but enjoyable to read.
But, the way Eelyn grew up was as a warrior: she was taught to never cry or show weakness. This is stressed and mentioned multiple times throughout the book. While I get that her journey is a hard one, I don’t understand how her upbringing of never showing weakness just crumbles and she starts crying all of the time. She is a fierce warrior, yet in a span of a few weeks, she throws away all she has grown up to believe and starts loving her enemies. For a girl with fire in her veins, as is said about her by other characters in the book, she seems awfully easy to get to comply as a dyr, a type of slave.
Now, I always love the idea of forbidden love, and I believe, though used a lot, this can still turn out good with its own twist. In this book, however, I find it hard to believe Eelyn is actually in love with Fiske, who shot her with an arrow, bought her as a slave, and said that it was all in the name of protecting her. I agree that these actions did help save her life, but were it not for him capturing her in the first place, the ENTIRE mess wouldn’t have happened. Although I believe it to be unnecessary, this was the first snowflake in the snowball effect that creates this story. The two supposed lovebirds (although the word love is never mentioned to each other, they do express strong feelings for each other) have barely spoken! I feel, as a reader, that I hardly know who Fiske is. I wish there were more dialogue to explain the feelings between the beloved Eelyn and this Fiske. Also, how exactly is Fiske able to kick Eelyn’s butt so easily? They have both trained as warriors, and Eelyn is out on the battlefield killing all of these other trained warriors like she could do it in her sleep. Then, Fiske comes along and her ass is handed to her in seconds.
I feel that overall this book was lacking in dialogue, and because of this, we don’t get to know any of the characters really well. For example, besides Fiske, there is Myra, Eelyn’s supposed best friend. We don’t really see this proven through their limited interactions. We hardly even get a glimpse of who Myra is to Eelyn.
My last wish for this book would be to have more dialogue between Eelyn and her brother. She has a lot of pent-up anger, and she’s described as being pretty furious at him. Over time they have one brief discussion and that’s it. I feel like Eelyn should’ve exploded, or there should’ve been some sort of fight; instead, the problem is just swept under the rug and never dealt with.
Despite all this, it was a lovely simple day read. It left me wanting more for character relationships because I liked the characters so much. The ending was sweet and a refreshing compared to the common cliffhanger endings. This book didn’t really ignite “the feels” in me, but it was not in any way a bad book. If you’re looking for a quick, simple read I hope you’ll take this into consideration. Through all of my nit-picky comments, I still rate the book four out of five stars.