Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Author: Axie Oh
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Once Upon a Book Club VIP gifted box
Recommended for fans of: retellings, Korean mythology, Spirited Away
Content Warnings: miscarriage, child death, violence

SYNOPSIS

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…

MY THOUGHTS

Thank you to Once Upon a Book Club for the gifted book and subscription box.

I loved the atmosphere and characters in this Korean folktale retelling with fairy tale vibes, as well as the mortal in the spirit realm trope, mystery surrounding the cursed Sea God, mythical creatures, and of course the fated connections. The story was fast-paced and easy to breeze through.

However, it was almost too fast-paced for me? I didn’t quite feel the emotional connections between characters, especially when it came to the romance (even though I was so on board!). I also often had a lot of questions as to WHY things were happening the way they did, and I successfully predicted a major twist way before it was actually revealed. The plot needed more room to breathe and settle deeply before moving on to the next event.

Still, I absolutely loved the vibes of this book. Mina is such a great YA character with her determination, passion, and resilience. And I enjoyed the way this book explored themes of family, both blood and found.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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