The Girl the Sea Gave Back Review

*WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

*Thank you so much to the publisher for provided me with a free advance copy in exchange for my honest review.*

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed with this book, because I went into it with fairly high expectations. Sky in the Deep wasn’t a super complex novel, but it was a compelling story with characters I bonded with. This one felt almost like the sort of early draft I would write for a book: the main plot points or bare bones were there, but it was missing the meat of the story where more character development happens. If it weren’t for Sky in the Deep, I’m not sure I would have connected at all to the characters or world. As it was, I mostly connected with Halvard…because of Sky in the Deep.

The characters weren’t bad, the writing style was all right (there was a point I felt a little confused during a battle scene, but those rough patches were, I believe, the uncorrected parts of the ARC I was reading and nothing more), and I still enjoyed the world building and how Young continues to develop the world of Sky in the Deep. But I wanted MORE. More character development, more chances to see the relationships develop between characters (especially the romantic relationship), and more suspense. The plot didn’t grip me like I wanted it to because there just wasn’t that much suspense. I don’t mind being able to predict some things in books (which characters will end up together, etc.) but I need some unpredictability to keep me really invested. Additionally, the romance was…barely-there. Which is OK, except that I didn’t really see the point in having one at all. The hint of romance that did happen had the “fated to be” trope of two people feeling a mysterious connection even though they barely know one another. If there is going to be a romance in a book, I like to see it develop a little and give me a few chances to swoon. I want a couple I can root for!

I also wanted to see Tova developed more. I liked her character, but again, I just didn’t feel like I knew her as well as I should have. And I certainly didn’t feel like I had enough for that abrupt ending when she was finally reunited with her people. It was the mystery of her origins and what had happened to her early on that compelled me to keep reading the book, more than anything else.

All of that said, Young still has a way with words. There were still moments I could see the heart of the story. I just needed MORE. It could have taken this story from “All right, but I may never read it again” to “I MUST have a copy to reread someday!” It mostly just made me want to reread Sky in Deep

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