The Girl the Sea Gave Back – Adrienne Young

As some of you might know, I was originally trained as a medievalist, and while the Vikings themselves don’t actually classify as medieval, they interfere with the British and Irish medieval societies I worked on, and I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Probably doesn’t hurt either that the modern Viking aesthetic is basically my sexuality in a nutshell. Give me long-haired beardy dudes or badass warrior babes any day.

So of course I jumped at the opportunity to read and review an early copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back for TitanBooks! Many thanks to the publisher, and especially Sarah Mather for sending this my way. I had enjoyed Adrienne’s debut, Sky in the Deep last year, but loved this one on a whole other level!


STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Told from the dual point of view of Tova and Halvard, both at the forefront of conflicting clans, this is a haunting tale about identity, belonging and coming of age in a Viking-inspired setting.

OPINIONS: One of the things I appreciated most about The Girl the Sea Gave Back was that it showcases Adrienne’s development as a writer. In no way am I complaining about Sky in the Deep, but this is just more in every way. It is a wonderful book, with a thrilling story, fascinating characters and a thought-through world. A detail that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere before, and which I think is a stroke of genius, is that when the point of view changes within the same location, there is a slight overlap, meaning that the last action described is described again from where the other person sees the action, which really helps with immersion. With rapid PoV changes, readers often get lost, and this prevents that.

Both Tova and Halvard have great character arcs, developing from the teenagers they are at the start of the story into the young adults they need to be by the end of it. They take on responsibility and grow, and it is beautiful to watch them. I’m not going into more detail here, so you will just have to read the book to see what I mean. I also loved Tova’s portrayal as a Truthtongue (which is basically in the blurb, so no spoiler here), and the problematic position this puts her in, as this opens the big can of worms: What happens when the predicted future is not the desired future? How do the powers that be deal with such situations? How does the soothsayer act?

I really enjoyed The Girl the Sea Gave Back, and I hope you will too! This was one of the books I could barely put down and kept thinking about, and will definitely keep recommending to people. While it can get dark at times, the sentiment of hope prevails throughout, which is just what I needed after a difficult couple of months.

As usual, here’s your Goodreads link, and a BookDepository one!

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