Completely Addicting Fantasy with a Heroine that is AMAZING
Teen & Young Adult Paranormal Romance, Teen & Young Adult Historical Romance
Feiwel & Friends
February 22, 20222
ebook, hardcover, audiobook
Axie Oh's The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an enthralling feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale "The Tale of Shim Cheong," perfect for fans of Wintersong, Uprooted, and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
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…
“After all, not all storytellers are grandmothers, but all grandmothers are storytellers.”
My heart was a bit beaten and bruised while reading, but the way Axie Oh tells Mina’s story in The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea gave me all the feelings and healed my heart whole by the ending.
I am unfamiliar with the Korean folktale that Axie Oh retells in this YA historical fantasy/romance, but I can assure you that The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is equally enchanting and full of love, magic, and the wisdom that comes with listening to and honoring your beloved family and ancestors.
“It seems unwise to give fire to a clumsy person in a forest.”
Mina is a character who loves her older brothers but most especially her brother Joon. Joon has known for years that his bride will be gentle and beautiful Shim Cheong, but fate is tricky. Every year a bride is chosen to be sent down to the Spirit Realm at the bottom of the sea to the Sea God so that he may finally break his curse and stop the storms that ravage the seas, and terrorize the people who live nearby and work the land. Above all else, Mina cannot stand to see the people she loves in pain. So when it becomes time to send the newest Sea God’s Bride into the sea, Mina takes it upon herself to go in Shim Cheong’s place in the hopes that it will save her brother from heartache.
Once in the Spirit Realm, Mina is guided by the Red String of Fate straight to the sleeping Sea God. It’s there that she’s told she only has 30 days to help break the curse that plagues the Sea God or her soul will be separated from her. The friends—the spirits, beings, and other manner of characters that Mina meets and befriends on her journey are truly what make The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea so magical. Shin and Mina’s connection is utterly alluring and the obstacles that each of them face, along with the unspoken gestures and actions between the two will have romance readers swooning.
“Don’t chase fate, Mina. Let fate chase you.”
My favorite aspect of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is not only Mina’s determination, but also her intelligence as well as her ability to see the good in every being that she comes across. She respects everyone in the Spirit Realm, but also manages to keep herself safe and stay true to herself while doing it. I think the depth of Mina’s character is a testament to Axie Oh and her ability to create such a beautiful and magical world of the Spirit Realm while injecting so much humanity in a place where humans can’t even survive.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is going to be a story that sticks with me for a while and I can already tell you that it’s a top read of 2022 for me. Axie Oh’s storytelling, prose, and character development are so gorgeous. The words came alive around me while I was reading and I loved being immersed in such a vivid world. I can absolutely assure you that this book isn’t just for YA readers, and I can guarantee that a reader at any (teen or above) age will adore this story!
Jes is a self-proclaimed bookworm, who recently moved from the PNW back to the Midwest. When her nose isn’t in a book, she’s spending time with her husband, two kids, and her three fur babies, or exploring the globe. She also firmly believes that you should start the day with coffee, and end the day in bed with a good book.