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ARC Book Review: ‘The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Title: ‘The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Length: 311 pages

Publisher: Titan Books

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. The cover is absolutely stunning. I couldn’t wait to get started.

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 scared 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 at one, her world is dangerously close to collapse. For the the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or got 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.

Set 10 years after ‘The Sky In The Deep’ this book follows the story of ‘Tova’ and ‘Halvard’. This book did have a few positives, but for some reason, it just missed the mark of being fantastic. It had all the potential but, for me, it didn’t quite reach it.

It felt like the world was already established, but there was so many different ‘clans’, ‘gods’ and unimportant characters at the beginning of this novel, it left me a little bewildered. At times it was quite frankly annoying. At points, it felt like if I read the word ‘Svell’ again I’d gouge my own eyes out. However, I did like the Viking Aspect.

The over lack of connection in this book left me wanting so much more. I kept reading, because I was waiting to see the connection build between Tova and Halvard, but when it came it was so disappointing. It was clear the author had intended them to have a special connection, but it was lacklustre, forced and dull. It was a romance, without any romance. They connected instantly but I have no idea why. It felt like I missing a bit of back story. It’s a shame, as I thought this was going to bring the book together, but ultimately it just left me wanting more. I felt more connection between Tova and her guard Gunther, that was probably the highlight of the book for more, but it still could’ve been expanded upon.

I also had no connection to any of the characters, at the beginning when Tova’s mother sent her away in the boat I felt sorry for them but that’s where the emotional connection stopped. I wasn’t rooting for Tova and Halvard to get together, I wasn’t rooting for either clan, even the ending didn’t move me much. The characters had such strange reactions. I wonder if it’s because they needed to explored more? There wasn’t much explanation of anything in this book, we were meant to just accept everything, but I found myself left with a lot of questions.

Though I did think the book picked up slightly towards the end. The writing got better. I thought the battle at the end of the book was fantastic, really well written, imaginative. I could clearly see it in my head. This author obviously as some talent as battle scenes are hold to pull off but I really enjoyed it.

It all just felt a little unoriginal, like I read it all before. It some cases I think this YA fantasy novel should’ve gone further. It just felt a little safe, predictable. It was enjoyable at times. I just don’t think I’ll remember this one. Am I glad I read this book, yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. Especially if you loved ‘Sky In The Deep’. I’m sure you’ll recognise a few characters.

Thank you so much to Titan Books for gifting me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It comes out on paperback September 3rd.

Until the next review

JTH

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