ARC REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young 💭 I gave my hopes to the sea, and they mostly came back?


Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Pages: 336

Release Date: September 3rd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.31 (of 99 ratings)


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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.



Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of  Wednesday Books via a Goodreads giveaway. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

I’m going to tell you straight up: this isn’t on Sky in the Deep‘s level. It totally has the same magical feel and Young’s dreamy-like writing that transports you to the Viking inspired world. However, it doesn’t live up to the Sky in the Deep expectations, so lowering them (like I did after seeing so many so-so ratings) might help a bit.

The writing was still there for me. I don’t quite know how to describe the atmosphere and mood that Young creates, but it certainly transports me into the world of Svell, Kyrr, and more. It felt lush and beautifully done, and I’m right down in the fjord, fighting along with the clans and praying to the gods. Although, like, if at home you mean hiding in a forest somewhere because fighting is scary, then, yup, totally at home. Young definitely works some magic with her writing, and I certainly will be picking up any books written by her. It was easily my favorite part of the story.

I was really drawn to the characters in Sky in the Deep, and this one focuses on a new one and an old one. I liked Tova. She certainly goes through a journey, and she was easy to root for. She had depth to her, and she certainly sees what her actions bring. I, for sure, enjoyed reading her voice. There was still a disconnect with her, since I was never truly truly invested in her? I mean, I rooted but I felt like I could have really done more. And the other main character? I just never connected. I felt like a lot of characterization was lost from the first book to this one (overall but specifically for the second main character), and he was just a Gary Sue. He was just defined as a hero, and I wanted far much more. This was the biggest issue for me, and why I struggled the most in this story.

The plot was interesting for the most part. This story features a lot more on the magic, and while it still does feature warring clans, it takes on a different take than the first book. I totally loved how much more magic was included in this one. It was so intriguing, and just brought so much more to the world than was before. I was so immersed. At times, I enjoyed it, and I was invested. Other times, I was found myself quite disinterested and disconnected. I would sit it down for days to not pick it up. I’m not sure if it was the pacing or because I had seen this plot a few times? Young still did it well, and even though I really did see a few things coming, I was intrigued enough to keep going.

I wasn’t a fan of the romance due to how little we got of a lead up. For the longest time, I thought there wasn’t going to be any, but then it all happened so fast like it was smashed together because it was “needed.” Like, I really felt zero connection between them, and like, it was okay? I also felt like the whole ending part for Tova was a bit haphazard as well, and like, I saw it coming a mile away.

Overall, though, it was a pretty solid read, despite all of my complaints, lol. There were parts that I massively enjoyed: the mood/atmosphere, Tova’s character, the magic in this brilliant world. But there were some pitfalls that really did bog the read down for me. I enjoyed, but it could have been better, for sure, and it certainly wasn’t up to Sky in the Deep’s level of love for me. 



rating: Jasmine because the hype didn’t quite match my own thoughts
representation: n/a
content warnings: violence, death of important side character


What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


15 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young 💭 I gave my hopes to the sea, and they mostly came back?

  1. I hate it when I don’t love the other character narrating!! I always find myself skipping ahead to the others chapters and than I don’t end up enjoying the book as much :// I have still yet to read Sky in The Deep but really really want to get to it someday soon!! Sorry this wasn’t as good as the authors first read, great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review. I haven’t read Sky in the Deep, but I have read this. I thought it was good but not as good as it could be. For me there wasn’t enough of the scrying, it’s the unique selling point that drew me to the book and there just wasn’t enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad that I read this. I feel like I’ve had this UP for it being the same level as Sky in the Deep, so now I know to lower my standard “EVER SO SLIGHTLY”. I’ve seen a lot of reviews say the same thing as you, so it’s good to know what i’m getting into. I’m probably still going to buy it because … well … look at that cover?! And I need it to go with the first one ha-ha!

    Lovely review! I’m glad I checked this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I had seen a lot of so-so reviews for it ahead of time, so I knew a bit to go for lower ones. It’s still good, but it’s definitely good to not bring ALL the feels for it. But I mean, I still would push yes because the cover (and the under the cover design) is so so cool, and I would certainly feel incomplete. Thank you, Jenna!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was ready to be sooooooo upset. BUT you have some fair points. I have been seeing a bunch of reviews for this saying much the same, that it isn’t Sky in the Deep. SO I am hoping that if I go in not expecting SitD, maybe it will still be ok with me? I’m also going to wait for the release in a few short weeks, so maybe that will help? IDK either way, great review! I am still looking forward to this :] AND IT’S GORGEOUS COVER OMG

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! I lowered my expectations quite a bit, and I will say that it definitely helped quite a bit. But yes, for sure not on Sky in the Deep – but still a pretty good read since it involves much more magic and good writing. AND THAT COVER IS SO GORGEOUS INDEEED.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I felt the same way about this one! It wasn’t *bad* it just didn’t live up to the awesomeness that was Sky in the Deep. I thought it was interesting to see more of a magical view on the world that we got to know in Sky in the Deep, but I just didn’t feel as connected to the stories or the characters. I did love the little cameos of familiar characters though. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesssssssssss, I totally agree, Chana. I think it would have been better had we not already loved Sky in the Deep so much? And I did love the more magical influence. And the cameos were so greattttt (except for the one sad one 😦 ). Thank you, Chana!! 🙂


    Seriously everything you said is basically what I think, you’re just able to put your thoughts in a more eloquent manner. (My review is a hot mess and I was too generous in my original GR rating)
    It does not reach Sky’s level at all, except the world bit because that was lush like the first one. But I was so disappointed in the characters…Tova was just alright and Halvard was so bland, like plain toast. UGh. I’m sorrryyyyyyyy.

    Liked by 1 person

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