Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

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…

Hardcover, 325 pages
Published February 22, 2022 
by Feiwel & Friends
4/5 stars

Axie Oh is a new author for me, this her latest book is a YA retelling of a popular Korean legend, entitled The Tale of Shim Cheong. It's about a girl who travels into the spirit world to break a curse that threatens the lives of not just her family but her people.

Though fantasy is not really one of my go to genres. I do love a good retelling especially YA. I have yet to get my hands on the original, but I will keep searching as I am intrigued by this retelling.

Mina is an impulsive, strong willed teen. She is dedicated to her family, putting others before herself. This character driven story was colourful with its vivid setting and cast of characters. The storyline was intricate and since I have yet to real the original folktale I didn’t know what to expect.

This was a Family Book Club read, and we all really enjoyed the story. While some guessed the outcome I was in the dark till the end. Suffice to say this was a hit for all 3 of us.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge - I had to buy the book because of the gorgeous cover.

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