OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
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.
I didn’t even know this book existed until Adrienne Young mentioned it and the second book in the Sky in the Deep series, The Girl the Sea Gave Back, in an Instagram post. I decided to see what she was referring to and I am so glad I did!
This book has a feel to it that is hard to describe. The Gods seem almost like Norse Gods of old, yet they’re clearly not real Norse Gods. The book also has a very Braveheart and Last of the Mohicans feel to me, but that could just be me. I guess it’s the whole clans and being the last of their clans thing that makes me think of those.
I love Eelyn’s character. She’s a warrior, she’s brave, she’s proud. She’s also scared out of her wits, afraid to die, and afraid to love. Her loyalty to her clan, the Aska, runs fierce. But then you see her start to change and grow. It’s something you have to read to believe. She’s a beautiful character.
Fiske is… sorry, he’s a warrior teddy bear. That’s the best way to describe him and it works. He’s gentle with his family and with anyone else he cares for. He’s fierce with his enemies or the enemies of those he loves.
The heartstopping scenes in this book – the battles, the raids, the heartache, the heartbreak. I cried in some places, I cheered in others, and “watched” in horror in other parts of this book. It kept me enthralled and I couldn’t put it down. Definite 4 star read. It would have been 5 stars but I’d liked to have had more time to get to know some of the supporting characters like Inge, Halvard, Iri, and Runa. Maybe in the next book we might get to know them better.