Axie Oh is an auto-buy author of mine. So when I saw The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea you know I was elated. This magical fantasy features a story about sacrifice and love as well as an adventure packed quest. Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts.
Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Motivated by her love for her brother, Mina throws herself into the water as the Sea God’s Bride. But it’s no easy thing to be the Sea God’s Bride. And while she wants to help bring calm to the sea and peace to her community, at every turn complications ensue. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an action packed fantasy that blends spirits and demons into a story that examines the relationship between humans and the gods. Mina must unravel the stories of the girls before her as she’s immersed in politics and betrayals beneath the surface.
It’s just the beginning in Mina’s journey where stories shape lives and give hope. Through her story, Mina questions whether the gods should protect humans in a world littered with wishes which have gone unanswered. I was swept away by this magical world and complicated web of alliances. As readers, initially we see this stark divide between the gods and humans, but as Oh continues Mina’s story, we start to see the differences shrink. To realize that stories are an escape, a fragment of hope, for everyone.
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The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a story about love and sacrifice. I fell in love with Mina almost instantly not only because of her sacrifice, but because of her spirit. How she loves and hopes even when it’s hard and can see the good in people. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is magical and Mina is a determined, clever, passionate heroine who loves her family and community. Find The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.