My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Author: Axie Oh
Format: ebook (borrowed)
Publication Date: 2/22/22
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Categories: Romance, Korean Mythology, Fantasy, Young Adult
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…
Content Warning: depression
All I knew of this book was it was based on mythology and the cover had to be one of the most beautiful cover’s I’ve seen this year. I finally got to read this and let me tell you, this pulled so hard at my heart strings. 🥺 Here’s what worked and didn’t work for me:
+ I read somewhere that this story has inspirations from Spirited Away, one of my favorite movies and I found this out after reading the book. But sure enough during my reading of this book I thought it reminded me of that movie, and there was even a line in the book where she wrote “spirited away”. The characters and world-building definitely had that same feel of Spirited Away where spirits, ghosts and Gods walk the world.
+ I love Mina and how she got into her predicament because she loved her brother so much. Let me tell you, all the family references in this book pulled at my heart, I even almost teared up at the end! But it was happy tears I wanted to cry. Mina as a character fights for her loved ones and doesn’t let the word “no” stop her. She is determined to break the curse of the Sea God to save the people she loves. She has a beautiful heart.
+ The characters are great especially Shin and my other favorite Namgi! And because Mina is basically in the underworld, she runs into people who have passed. It’s part of the reason I wanted to cry at the end of the book.
+ The writing is beautiful and the story itself is filled with little myths here and there that Mina is remembers or tells. There is a romance and it starts off as an enemies to lovers situation until Mina unveils the secret of the Sea God. I love how it unfolded and how sweet the ending is.
~ I did have to get acquainted with this world in the first few chapters. I like that we jump right away into the story without any background but once she is is in the Spirit Realm, I feel as disoriented as Mina so I felt like her, I had to get my bearings. Once I do, the story sweeps me away. The conflict of the story, doesn’t have a big impact, there is a battle but it’s resolved quickly.
~ Even though we meet Shin in the beginning I started to suspect some things about him and I was right, which isn’t a bad thing – it made me look forward to see how the book would end.
Tropes: soul mates, mythology retelling, chosen one
Why you should read it:
- it’s an enchanting, magical story about Mina who has a big heart
- the romance between Mina and Lord Shin starts off as enemies but it’s a sweet ending for them
- this story is about choices, consequences, family, friendship, loneliness and just caring for one another
Why you might not want to read it:
- might read too young for some people – it’s a light fantasy not high fantasy
- slow beginning
I wasn’t sure what to think in the beginning of the story but by the end, I was in love with it. I love Mina’s heart and Shin’s protectiveness even though at first he comes off as hostile. I love the Spirit Realm (it has Spirited Away vibes), and the fun side characters. This one made me want to cry with all the talk about family – it really is a beautiful story with a gorgeous book cover to match.
📚 ~ Yolanda
Other books I’ve read and reviewed by this author:
Quotes from the Book:
You claim the gods should love and care for humans. I disagree. I don’t think love can be bought or earned or even prayed for. It must be freely given.”~Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
My love for you is endless. Deep and endless, like the sea.”~Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Sometimes you don’t find family in your own blood, but elsewhere.”~Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
I wish I could bear some of your burden for you. Holding you now, I can feel how heavy it is.”~Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea