The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

What makes this book different from all others? And why should anyone care?

The setting of the book is certainly different to most other books in the YA market but it is not original entirely. I would say it strikes a balance of being original and cliche fairly on the line. 
The story is an interesting concept which deals heavily with tribe politics, religion, and war. It's beautifully written and the characters are all complex and believable. 

The book does however suffer from info-dumping and too much happening at once. As there is multiple POVs in the novel it can be confusing to align who is from what tribe and what their name is and who they really are and how it related to this other tribe. 

I feel the book would have benefitted from a bit longer of an introduction for the various characters at the beginning. I also felt taken from the meat of the story as soon as it did switch. So I cannot provide the solution: perhaps a few shorter chapters to introduce the POVs and then longer more in-depth ones to establish who they are and what's going on. 

I ended up not finishing the book simply because I was too confused, although I was enjoying it. I do appreciate that the book didn't immediately jump into a battle and took time to explain why we should care, but I felt like I'd read the story before. The outcast who is gifted girl and the heir who doesn't want to be heir aren't new stories and it didn't endear me to reading because I knew easily how it would end. Maybe this just wasn't for me, who knows? 

The author's prose is absolutely beautiful and well worth a read if you're not as dense as I am.
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Unfortunately, I did not like this companion as much as Sky in the Deep. The world-building did not feel as fleshed out, which is ironic because the pacing was slow enough to allow for it.
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Unfortunately, this author's writing just doesn't seem to click with me. I've read both of her books and found them hard to get into. I think part of the reason is that they are slow build, slow plot books that focus more on the relationships and cultural dynamics that any big adventure twists and turns. Which is great if that's what you are looking for. This book is a follow up to her first and I enjoyed seeing her previous characters reappear in this one as well. A good fantasy book if you like this type of setting and writing
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Loved it! Initially pacing was a bit off but the flashbacks were just right. I loved how this story unfolded and how the characters were drawn to one another. It's that slow burn of a romance but it was perfect in the end. 
It was great to see the other characters from "Sky in the Deep". 
Highly recommend!

Big thanks to Netgalley for this wonderful opportunity to read and review this book.
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When I requested this book I was barely starting the first book of this standalone series. 

Huge mistake. 

I know I said "standalone series", so I should give this book a try, right? I KNOW THIS. But I just can't find it in me to want to get past the first chapter. I've tried, BELIEVE ME. 

The first book ended up being such a disappointment, I just can't get past that.
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I finished The Girl the Sea Gave Back a couple months ago, shortly after finishing Sky in the Deep, and really enjoying it. While I can still recall the plot and details of Sky in the Deep, I had trouble remembering everything about The Girl the Sea Gave Back and thought I must have been forgetting something because I only remembered a few things happening in the plot. But that’s exactly it. Nothing much happens, until the end. I can appreciate that this is a wholly different novel from its predecessor, and I was looking forward to discovering more about the world and the new characters this book introduces. However, I found both main characters to be flat and forgettable. Events in the story that should have made me feel some emotion left me cold, because I never connected with the characters.

 The romance was strange and halted for me. It takes way too long for the love interests to meet, and even once they had, it seemed like the only connection they had was “fate”, which is not a compelling love story. I was even a little surprised when a kiss finally happened, because it didn’t seem to fit with the relationship that had been built at that point.

 In spite of all of the above, Adrienne Young really can write some great battle scenes, and the last few chapters of the book were truly riveting. I just wish I had been hooked before the end.
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Overall this was a great sequel to Young's first novel. I loved getting to know more about some of the other characters from the first book as well as getting introduced to some new ones. And there was just enough intrigue to keep me guessing the whole book long. 
My only negative comment, is that the time skips to the past at times caught me off guard and messed with the flow of the story. But then, I'm not often one to enjoy time skips.
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Wonderful companion/follow-up book to "Sky in the Deep." While you don't necessarily need to have ready "Sky in the Deep" to understand "The Girl the Sea Gave Back" you will appreciate the setting, conflict, and characters more if you have. Young builds tension around the mystery of why Tova was sent off as dead in a funeral boat from her people and how her life in entangle with the young leader of a rival tribe. The alternating POVs along with flashbacks provide insight and motivation allowing this book to stand alone solidly.
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Beautifully written, dragged a bit, would have loved a tiny bit clearer ending (explain the ruins girl! please!) but tbh I loved it. 4.5 stars, and I did truly love it. I know it was a seperate story from the first but I did miss the OG characters viewpoint.
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After loving Young's debut novel, I was so excited to pick up The Girl the Sea Gave Back. This story takes place in the same world a few years after Sky in the Deep. It's apparent that Young did a lot of research into Vikings and their lifestyles. It's a unique While I enjoyed this story, it did take a while to get started. I do recommend this for fans of Sky in the Deep and those interested in Viking stories.
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First, love the cover. Also like how it has more fantasy vibes than ithe book before it... This book definetly has potential. It also has the same lovely writing of the first, but the beginning didn't catch my attention enough to want to finish at this time. One day I would like to get back to it because I did like the author's first book, but now isn't the time.
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A strong start with a fragmented finish. Will probably appeal to certain demographics due to the amazing cover and the interesting premise. I'll be keeping an eye out for this author's further works.
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I adore Adrienne Young's writing style and the unique setting of her book worlds. The characters are always strong and the story is flawless, interesting and well-paced. And can we talk about the cover? A work of art!
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What a fantastic dip back into the world of Vikings. Young writes in such a way that you feel like you are there, fighting alongside them, learning their customs with them and falling in love with them too.
Well written and clearly, heavily researched, The Girl The Sea Gave Back is a fantastic read that moves in the world of Sky in the Deep. 
I love that we got to see the world from Halvards point of view. I loved his character in Sky in the Deep. Such a kind and honest soul who really made this book something special.
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This is a strong sequel to a very strong first book, so I'm confident that students will enjoy it. The story moves quickly and the characters are likable. Great book.
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Tova was destined for more than to be a tolerated outcast, "sacrificed" by her own people, and left to wash ashore in a foreign land. From child to woman, Tova has read the rune stones, a talent that is more than just skin deep, like the telltale tattoos that adorn her body. Tova has no memory of her family or her people but she does remember the runes and what they mean. A descriptively stunning book that makes it easy to imagine a Viking-like world with warriors in leather and furs in the forests and by the fjord. An amazing story about two people; one girl/woman's journey to find her way and determine what her own destiny will be, the other a young man destined to be a leader who preferred to live in peace but was ready to fight for the Nadir if needed. Told in two voices, both Tova's and Halvard's. Two paths that were weaved together long before either character knew what was to be.  Excellent character development and a moving plot line that builds right up to the very end!
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I do think this deserved a 3.5. I did not read the first book and I was able to follow along with this one, we are several years since the first book with a new main female lead. Tova is sent from her people in a death ceremony and washes ashore as a gift from the gods in the land of the Svell. Some of the Svell believe she is cursed, others take advantage of her ability to prophesy, most resent her. Halard is chosen to lead his people, but he is not sure he is worthy. When it comes time to go to battle, he is willing to use all the tools at his disposal, but this battle is for the total survival of the tribe against strong odds. The dueling narrative was effective in this story and the editing was mostly flawless, but the passage through time made this story not as effective.
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**For more reviews visit me at

Tova does not have people of her own, instead she is an outcast with a clan that does not want her yet uses her skills to read the runes. When the clan has to make a choice about starting a war, she is the one who decides their fate. Halvard has enjoyed the life of peace that his people settled into in the last 10 years, not really knowing what fighting for his life really looks like. But now the time has come to step up and fight for his people...or die trying.

The Girl The See Gave Back is almost completely the opposite of Sky In The Deep, which is the companion novel set 10 years prior. I picked up Sky In The Deep expecting an action packed viking warrior battle like every episode of the show Vikings, but instead it was a quiet, introspective novel that dealt with a lot of angst and grief, but ending in a fast harsh battle. Well, The Girl the Sky Gave Back was action packed, almost from the start we see clans battling and people fighting to the death. At every turn there was some kind of action, be it training, or stealthily sneaking, to full out scary battles where most people get injured and it is raining death. I will say that I had a harder time relating to the characters since we basically meet them in the middle of the action without any time to get to know them. We did occasionally get back story told in random time points from the past that helped to show how both characters came to this end point which did help.

The story was dual narrated by both the main characters, which is my favorite in a romance story- which this was not actually, but it hinted at the potential for more. Halvard was introduced in Sky in the Deep as a cute and curious child so seeing him as a serious adult was a new change. I love that his family showed up, which were more grown up versions of all the character that I had previously met. Tova was a different type of character, one that was controlled my faith and chance, but basically knew nothing of herself and where she came from. They were such different characters who had only a few brief interactions during a war, but the author did a great job of showing that the fates had more in store for the two.

The ending, while leaving the conclusion up to fate aka the imagination of the reader, it seemed like this world was wrapped up. That being said, I would love another story set in this word full of fighting, magic, clans and lasting love. The author makes her worlds feel real, as if I am part of it, I can feel the ax swing by my face, the sweat running down my spine, the adrenaline spike from the stress of the situation. I look forward to whatever she wants to create next.
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When I saw the cover and title of this book, I knew I had to read it. It was stunning and everything that I look for in a cover. The premise sounded interesting too. But then I found out it was a sequel, #2 in a series, so I read the first book, “Sky in the Deep” first, of course. The thing is, I didn’t expect to enjoy the first book. It’s description didn’t draw me in the same way. But then I enjoyed it.
So I picked up this book, the sequel, expecting to enjoy it too. Except I didn’t. Not fully.
Here’s why;
There were far too many characters introduced at the beginning of the book. Like my head was swimming and I didn’t know who was who or how to keep up with so many so quickly (and their unique names didn’t help). And I didn’t really care about any of them, because I hadn’t been given any reason to.....because.....they weren’t the same characters from the first book.
Which led to another reason I didn’t really enjoy it. I wanted to know what happened to the characters from Sky in the Deep, and this happens in the same world, but not with the same characters. In fact there are very few from the first book. So that led to more confusion.
But then, the story just didn’t grab me. The overall idea of this girl who was found at sea was interesting. But I pegged the ending pretty early on. I mean, I think it was pretty obvious, honestly.
It reminded me of the way The Giver is a “series,” none of which go together or tie in to each other until the very end of the series. Like with The Giver, if I had known that going in, I might have had different feelings. Like maybe I didn’t even need to read the first book before this one. It didn’t seem to be tied together at all, other than mentioning the tribes from Sky in the Deep. Maybe that would have helped.
One thing that Young does very well, though, is fight scenes. And the whole series had a very Sarah J. Maas feel. I’m new to this general genre, but Young’s writing reminds me a lot of Maas. 
Anyway, gorgeous cover, interesting world that I hope to visit again....but with the characters I actually cared about and not so much these.
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First I want to say I really loved Sky in the Deep and I couldn’t wait to get to Halvard and Tova’s story.  Imo it started off strong, the first chapter sucked me in ... then I started to get confused and then stayed confused through out most of the book.  I didn’t connect with the characters the way I usually do and that effected me totally enjoying this book. Overall it was an alright read.. I would recommend if you enjoyed SitD.. but remember it is a very different story for sure.
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