Friday, October 4, 2019

Audiobook review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Summary
The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

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.

Flo's Review
What a pleasant surprise this book was! I've been wanting to read Sky in the Deep ever since I heard about it, but it never quite made it all the way up the TBR pile. Then a good friend gifted me with the beautiful hardcover copy of this one, and I decided to give it a read before YALLFEST. I listened to the audiobook and it flew by! It was only about 8 or 9 hours, which is my sweet spot for audiobooks. (After that, I really have to like the story because they start to seem too long to me at that point.) I felt like I started and finished this within a few days. But the pacing also contributed. The story started off with a mystery, with a question, and just went full in from there on out.

I am happy to report that even though this is a companion novel to Sky in the Deep, you don't have to read that one first to fully understand this one at all. I never did get to read Sky -- though I definitely will now! -- and the only reason I figured out that the two books were related is because I went poking around for information about this book on Goodreads. I wanted to emphasize that point because I think it's fantastic. I have been caught before by "It's a companion, but you don't have to to have read the original series" and then I've tried the book and been completely lost. Not the case here. This stood alone perfectly and made me excited to go back and read the other one.

Tova was a great character. There was just something about her that drew me in as a reader. She blames herself for a lot of the deaths in the book, and even as I was thinking she was right, it didn't make me dislike her at all. And naturally Tolvard (excuse me if I'm spelling any one's names wrong) was bae. I'd even consider living on the fjord for him. But then I wouldn't because let's be real -- that just sounds cold!

Likeable characters that you're rooting for, nonstop action, fantastic pacing, the joy of being a standalone -- all of these qualities endeared me to this book. It's definitely one I would recommend.

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