Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1825
heavy, atmospheric viking-inspired historical fantasy
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is a stand-alone companion novel to THE SKY IN THE DEEP. A historical fantasy with compelling world-building and fierce battle scenes, this book is steeped in fate and destiny. Tova was found when she was six years old in a boat with markings all over it by a Svell, Jorrund who believes the gods sent her for him to find. He tells her and the Svell that she was sent to the sea as a sacrifice but rescued by another god and delivered to them; however, as we know from the prologue, she was on a funeral pyre, believed to be dead. Tova does not remember any of her past before washing up on the shore.

Tova had markings on her skin that reveal her as a Kyrr, a tribe which mostly keeps to themselves, and as a "Truthtongue," able to read the stones and reveal the future. The Svell hate her as a general rule, believing she should have been killed when found, and blaming her for the negative futures she sees. When she sees a particularly bad future, they set out on the path to war.

Halvard will be the next ruler of his people, the Nadhir, and he wants to do what is best for them. However, this is not always clear. When battles and devastation break out, his tasks become even harder, and he must decide who to trust and what the path should be forward, wearing the heavy mantle of leadership.

While both characters were interesting and the pace was very fast, we get only some flashbacks into their pasts. These were the heaviest part of the character-building in the book. However, the vast majority of the book takes place in the present, where battles are frequently brewing. I would have liked to spend more time in the past and in connecting Halvard and Tova. On the other hand, this writing style keeps the novel moving very quickly, keeping up the stress and pressure of their reality.

The book felt very atmospheric, and scenes were described well, making it come to life off the pages. I would have liked to know more about Tova's people (Kyrr) and have some more context for this. However, this allows us to really view the world from Tova's perspective, with her knowledge and mysteries.

Both Tova and Halvard bear heavy burdens of duty for the tribes where they are- one is worn more fondly than the other, but they tie them together. The connections that they have are more of fate and destiny than of discussions/time. While I tend to prefer the latter in my romance, this felt more true to the story and the vikings, making this a very intense read and very light romance.

Overall, this has heavy appeal for people who enjoy viking-inspired, historical fantasy, and I would highly recommend for people looking for a fast-paced and fierce atmospheric story with a heavy dose of fate and a light touch of romance. Fans of THE SKY IN THE DEEP will not be disappointed with this engaging spin-off stand-alone.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Fast and the Furious meets Transformers in the second...
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It’s a sleepy Saturday morning for most people, but not...
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas...
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The hilarious sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller,...
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
With tongue-twisty wordplay and escalating absurdity, this is a fall-down-funny...
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A LOVE POEM FROM A FATHER TO HIS TWO SONS,...
The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in The Faithless...
Zora's Zucchini
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first zucchini of a summer garden is always exciting,...
Libby Loves Science
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Libby loves science! In this STEM-themed picture book, a companion...
The Hidden Rainbow
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
All the colors of the rainbow are hidden in the...
The Places We Sleep
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A family divided, a country going to war, and a...
Chasing Starlight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Midwestern high school seniors and swim teammates Alli and Brandon...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
True love has never been more deadly in this lush...
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...

Latest Member Reviews

Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
"HARVEY HOLDS HIS OWN is a contemporary middle grade told from three perspectives: Maggie, Harvey, and Austin. Maggie is starting..."
Stick Dog Meets His Match (#10)
 
5.0
"As the soft, fragrant warmth of spring strips the chill from Stick Dog's world, he and his friends approach the..."
Two Dogs on a Trike
 
4.5
"TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE is an adorable counting book for toddlers and preschoolers. Each page features dogs in different..."
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
"Thomas' father perished in a mining accident, so when his mother became ill and died, he ended up with his..."
King and Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor
 
4.0
"King's friend Thor is in big trouble. His owner, Jillian, got a call from the grumpy Mr. Gary that Thor..."
Storm Dog
 
4.0
"Ariel has a difficult home life in her Blue Ridge Mountain home in Virginia. It's not because of economics; her..."
Paolo, Emperor of Rome
 
4.5
"Paolo is a dachshund who lives with the owner of a hair salon. Although the sights, sounds, and smells of..."
Zeus, Dog of Chaos
 
5.0
"Madden is getting used to living with his mother, an Army lieutenant, after having spent a lot of time with..."
Lone Wolf
 
5.0
"LONE WOLF is an adorable picture book about belonging and family. Maple loves her family, reading with Avery, playing tug-of-war..."
Are You a Cat?
 
3.0
"ARE YOU A CAT? is a conversational book that features two characters, dog and (maybe) cat. Dog wants to chase..."
Happy Easter, Biscuit!: A Lift-the-Flap Book
 
4.5
"HAPPY EASTER, BISCUIT! is a lift-the-flap Easter egg hunt featuring Biscuit. The little girl and Biscuit are on the hunt..."
Brave (American Dog)
 
4.0
"Dylan is looking forward to a boring time of it in San Antonio, Texas, since he really doesn't want to..."
Ember (Rescue Dogs #1)
 
5.0
"When a house fire endangers a litter of yellow lab puppies and their mother, they are saved from their hiding..."
Pig the Tourist
 
5.0
"PIG THE TOURIST features our beloved pug named Pig while he goes on vacation. The only thing is that he..."
Poppy (American Dog)
 
5.0
"Hannah moves from Michigan to Northern California, and struggles with the transition. Her parents are very busy, and her younger..."
I, Cosmo
 
4.0
"Cosmo is the "big brother" of Max and his young sister Emmaline, and is now 13 years old. He still..."
Soldier Dogs #5: Battle of the Bulge
 
4.5
"Juliette's father is a baker in Belgium in 1944, and has been threatened by the occupying Nazis into giving them..."
Dog Days in the City
 
4.0
"In The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City, Josie and her large family adopted Hamlet, a pig. When..."
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
4.0
"Marty Fontana and his mother move to a new town for her job, and have a house that belonged to..."
Notorious
 
5.0
"Keenan ends up living with his father on an island that is part Canada and part US when he is..."