The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Wednesday Bks. Sept. 2019. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250168481.
Gr 8 Up–Young’s sophomore novel is a fantasy Bildungsroman with Viking flavor, which takes place a decade after her debut Sky in the Deep. Tova has lived as an outsider for as long as she can remember. Washed ashore as a child with no memory, Tova is rescued by a priest and raised to use her Truthtongue foresight to further the Svell’s interests. While Tova can read the future by rolling stones, the Fate Spinner deities have plans for the coming conflict between the Svell and the Nadhir, and even Tova’s dire warnings can’t keep the violence at bay. The novel is told in alternating perspectives between Tova and Halvard (a character from Sky) as they try to navigate clan politics and escalating bloodshed. The Svell are cast early as the villains. Their abuse of Tova is heavily contrasted to the Nadhir, a new clan founded by two tribes who set aside their blood feud and joined together in peace. Young’s writing is beautiful, but readers may find that Tova’s reliance on Fate and foretelling push her into predictable actions, leading to repetitive chapters. The novel emphasizes character exploration, with Halvard and Tova also sharing a slow, star-crossed romance that is rushed to its conclusion in the last pages. The book spends much of its time building up to a few short battle scenes where the die has, quite literally, already been cast.
VERDICT Purchase where Sky in the Deep is popular, as fans will be excited to watch familiar characters navigate clan politics with war on the horizon.

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