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19 September 2019

Book Review: The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young *AD Gifted

Titan sent me a free review copy of The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young.

If you saw my Book Beginnings post about this book, then you'll probably know that I was destined to love it. Honestly I was just so happy to be back in this world. It's rich and vivid and brutal, and there's something about it that gives me goosebumps.

The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young coverAdd to Goodreads button
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 sacred 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 as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go 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.

Source: Review copy.

5 Words: Power, fate, honor, belonging, betrayal.

Content warnings: Graphic violence, scenes of war

People, it was beautiful.

It's no secret that I absolutely loved Sky in the Deep when I read it last year, so I was already very excited to read The Girl The Sea Gave Back. And I had very high expectations, so I was a little bit worried that I had set myself up to fail. But I needn't have worried. The Girl The Sea Gave Back was amazing.

Right from the first page I was in love with the story. We're back in the same Viking-esque world and I settled immediately into the familiar dramatic landscape. If anything, the world in The Girl The Sea Gave Back felt even bigger than that of Sky in the Deep. Adrienne Young's writing is pretty epic, the world she has created is sublime. The details are exquisite. I could feel the cold wind, the snow on my feet, sticky blood drying on my skin. I could smell the food and the smoke and the iron tang of blood.

I loved the way the narrative was split between the characters, so we got to see their point of view and how they interpreted things. I loved the way the tension built between the characters. The pace complimented this really well, and I liked the mix of intense action and daily life, small dramas and violent battles.

Again, themes of family and belonging and tolerance are explored. This time instead of honor and endless fighting it's more about power and control itself. I enjoyed the flashback scenes, where characters revealed their motivation or another little mystery or secret came to light. Some of the betrayals really hit quite hard, and I really felt for Tova.

Also look at that cover. It's stunning. I could stare at it all day. It's just so visually stunning, dramatic and eye-catching. I love the colours and the drama and the depth and the strength just in the images.

This book can easily be read as a stand alone, but if you first read Sky in the Deep then you'll have a much deeper understanding of the world and the side characters and the tenuous grip on peace.

War is easy. 
It comes again and again, like waves to a shore.


  1. I was looking at this book at Barnes & Noble the other day. Almost bought it! I really want to! The story really seems fascinating!

  2. Oooh, I saw this book and wondered about it but having read your review I'm kicking myself for not getting it! I love split narratives and different viewpoints, I'll have to track it down again :) Lisa

  3. Oooh this sounds like such a good book! Definitely going to try and pick it up soon!

    Love, Amie ❤

    The Curvaceous Vegan

  4. This sounds like a great read! I am going to have to track it down for a future camping trip (that's my prime reading time)

    1. It would be perfect for reading while camping! The wilderness in the book is almost a character in itself.

  5. Knowing how much you loved this is really making me want to pick it up. I think I might give Sky in the Deep ago first though!

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I didn't love Sky in the Deep so I haven't been too eager to read The Girl the Sea Gave back. Maybe I should give it a chance!

  7. I really want to get to Sky In The Deep as well, and this too looks very promicing! Amazing review!

  8. I finished Sky in the Deep last week and I loved it! I still can't believe it took me so long to pick it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on The Girl the Sea Gave Back. I'm now dying to read it!

    Happy readings! ;)
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

  9. That cover RULES. I need to get into this series!!

  10. I've seen so many amazing things about this book! I don't think it's something I would enjoy though. Great review!

  11. What a brilliant review, I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as it seems everyone else has! :)
    - Kate xo

  12. Obsessed with this cover! I still need to read Sky in the Deep, but this one is definitely on my TBR!


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