Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Macmillan imprint)
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago. Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family. She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother's friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she's spent her life hating.
Sky in the Deep is steeped in loyalty and faith, in determination and a desire to survive. Eelyn has trained her whole life to fight, to fight for her people and keep them alive. But life is complicated, people not so different than she thought, and what was once unthinkable will have to happen if Eelyn wants all whom she loves to survive.
Eelyn is a warrior, strong and head-strong. Determined. Trained since she was a child to fight back against her clan's ancient enemy, the Riki. She will fight, and one day, she will die with honour on the battlefield. Until the day she sees her dead brother, only he's not dead and he's fighting for the other side. Until she follows him, lost and confused, and is captured by the Riki. Forced to become a servant. Hating everyone around her, including her brother Iri. But some things are not what Eelyn expected, some things are different while others are far too similar. And in order to survive, Eelyn will have to fight with the Riki.
Books like this give you a glimpse of human nature, of something everyone does. Loyalty and belief take us so far, they can give us family and friends. A place to be. Something to live for, and for some, something to fight for. Perhaps to die for. But then comes the blind loyalty, then comes the refusal to see things a different way. In Eelyn's case, it's the need of the Aska and the Riki to come together in order to survive against a greater enemy, a common enemy. It's a battle between wanting, needing to survive and being unwilling to trust the other side. From outside the story the reader can see the choice that must be made, the choice that would mean survival for both sides, would mean an end to their war. But that's because they're the reader. They're not the Aska or the Riki, fighting year after year, unwilling to trust or come together. It's books like this that show us the stubborn, unwilling to listen side of being human, that show us sometimes we need to stop and listen, stop and consider, stop and work together against something that would destroy all of us. There's always time to stop and work together.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Wednesday Books through NetGalley.)