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.
I read Sky in the Deep last year around this same time and while I did like the story I felt it was missing something special. I couldn’t decide if I was going to read this one or not but I decided to give the author another chance to impress me.
This book takes place about ten years after the events of the first book, with two different main characters. I have to say right from the start you can tell this is going to be a slow burn type of read. There is obviously a lot to catch up on from the first book, with new feelings and people to explore. If you go in with the understanding that the story is slower then I think you can really enjoy this one. I think my issue with Sky in the Deep was that I went in expecting a high adventure Viking book with gore, battle and bloodshed. That is not the writing that Young goes for though.
in this book I did highly enjoyed seeing Halvard again from the first book. He is now a teenager instead of a little boy and I really enjoyed seeing how he grew up and what he believed in now that his tribe has been at peace for the last ten years. In addition to Halvard there is Tova, who is the girl who the sea gave back. She is full of mystery as she doesn’t know how she came to live with a clan who is not her own and she is an outsider for the simple fact that she can cast the stones to see the future of events.
I think where this story shines is in the subtle messages and the slow flow of the story. To me the characters are there in the story but they hardly have any interactions until much later on. The story is really about Tova’s journey and what it means to see future events in her stones. How we choose to live our lives with the past, present and future. How people choose to live when their clans have this idea of peace by have a hard time stepping away from their roots of war. The messages in the story are really where the story shines, which usually isn’t my cup of tea but I think it worked here.
Overall, I would have enjoyed a bit more character interactions but the messages in this story make you think and I believe that is where Young prefers to write her books from. She is not a character driven storyteller but a storyteller who will pull you in with messages about life, family and maybe even a touch of love.