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.
Review: 4 Stars
When Sky in the Deep came out I tried to get a review copy, but wasn’t lucky enough to get one. When I heard that The Girl the Sea Gave Back was a spin off and not a sequel I was thrilled and this time I was lucky enough to get a review copy. I was very excited for this one and love that it is based on Viking culture. I wound up really enjoying this book.
The Girl the Sea Gave Back is more character driven than plot driven. A lot of time is spent developing the two main characters Tova and Halvard through flashbacks. I really love how certain scenes were recounted twice, once through Tova’s eyes and once through Halvard’s. It really helped show their different perspectives. While I really enjoyed reading about the two of them I felt like there was a little something missing. While we learned about their pasts and gained insight into who they were, I felt like they were serious most of the time. There wasn’t a ton of personality or any light hearted banter that made the reader feel close to the characters. Even though I would have liked some lighter moments I still very much enjoyed reading about them.
In the beginning I struggled a bit with the pronunciation of all the different Viking names. In other cultural fantasies I have found that this issue has distanced me from the story, so I made a point not to skim over the names and pronounce them in my head the best I could. I really enjoyed the Viking culture that is included in the book. I especially enjoyed the views on fate and the casting of rune stones to predict the future. I have always been fascinated by fortune telling and the rune stones also added a cultural element to the story. I did find myself wishing that there was more explained about the different gods though. While I really enjoyed the inclusion of Viking practices and beliefs I wanted there to be a little more cultural stuff included.
Overall I am pretty impressed. I wish that there was a little more to the plot, but at the same time I really enjoyed the story the way it was. I absolutely loved the climax of the book, it gave me goosebumps and I had a huge smile on my face. I was right to be excited for this one and I really hope that someday I get the chance to also read Sky in the Deep.