Review of ‘The Girl the Sea Gave Back’

By Cynthia Bujnicki

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
Wednesday Books
Image Credit: NetGalley

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived with the Svell, a tribe of Vikings who fear and hate her but keep her alive for her ability to see the future in the runes. Moreover, when tribes around them are uniting, the future Is dark. However, what she sees sets into motion a series of events that will change the landscape forever.

Published by Wednesday Books The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young is YA fantasy steeped in Viking lore.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a letdown as far as Viking lore goes. That is not to say that it is terrible but rather dull as Young failed and creating engaging characters. Tova is a stiff and stoic character. Sometimes authors can make that working to their advantage. However, here it failed. Nothing is engaging about Tova as far as her narrative goes. Her voice, the tensions surrounding her and the world that she lives in it not captivating. It is easy to pity the character, but it is hard to empathize with or root for her. She is just a name on a page and not strong enough to drive the story forward.

Now Tova has a special gift for she can read the runes and see the future. This is the part of the story that is engaging. However, the fault of the story the tension surrounding her ability to see the future brings out another Viking tribe and the demise of those who have harbored her for her gift. Her visions create strife within the tribe itself as well as with another tribe, ultimately leading to war. This brings in another perspective while giving the novel more scope; his voice is also not very captivating.

Now, the pacing of the novel falters as well. It has a slow beginning, and the flashbacks take the reader out of the story. The flashbacks do not work with how the build-up of the story. They break up the flow and progression of the story by going back and forth in a non-linear way. It does help to build up the character dynamics, but the unsteady momentum does not allow the reader to connect to the character in any way.

Admittedly, the last fifteen chapters of the novel are fast-paced and differ from the previous chapters in the novel. Those last fifteen chapters are invigorating and action-packed. While the character development still is not strong enough, and the dynamics feel slightly forced, the ending does make the novel worthwhile. (★★★☆☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

Page count: 336pp

Age Range: 12 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-2501-6848-1

Publisher: Wednesday Books

List Price: $18.99


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