Book Review – The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Title: The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

327 pages

4/5 stars

Goodread Synopsis

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 againβ€”a home.


A companion novel to Sky in the Deep, The Girl the Sea Gave Back follows Halvard and Tova. Tova is a Truthtongue living among a hostile clan who believe she is bad luck. They would kill her given the opportunity, but she was found barely alive after her clan put her on a ship and set it on fire to sail out into the sea. The Svell took her in and she owes her life to them. Halvard is working to continue stabilizing the Riki and Aska clans, now combined to form one clan. The Svell are considering invading their land to try and take advantage of their precarious position. After Tova rolls the stones and foretells despair for the Svell tribe, they take it to mean they will be destroyed if they don’t take action. Tova and Halvard’s stories quickly collide and their fates are revealed.

I loved Sky in the Deep. Adrienne Young’s writing is so beautiful and lyrical, so I was fully expecting to love this one as well. I didn’t rate it as highly as SITD but it was still a great read for me. I liked getting to follow up with Halvard about 10 years after SITD ended, and other main characters from SITD were brought back as well – just not as main characters. I miss Eelyn though and her POV so it was hard to have her just in the background. I’m not sure she even had a line in the book, which was a shame.

My main issue with this book was the ending. It was left up to the imagination what happened and no clear explanation was given (not going to go into detail, because spoilers). I have a pretty good assumption as to what happened, but I prefer for it to be spelled out pretty clearly. I also just wasn’t as invested in Tova’s story as I was in the MC’s in SITD.

Overall, I really liked this book and the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Also, the first editions have this beautiful embossing on the naked book and it looks amazing. I took my time through this book as it was a gift from my boyfriend for my birthday and I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. This continues to show that I wasn’t as invested in it because I was able to easily put it down.

If you loved Sky in the Deep, check out The Girl the Sea Gave back for more Viking vibes.

Happy reading, bookish friends! πŸ™‚

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