Hello everyone!! Today’s book review is on The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh.
This book is genuinely so close to my heart because it literally has everything I love 😭 Spirits?? Legends?? Romance?? A focus on family?? All set in the spirit realm?? I think yes!!
Fun fact I really love Studio Ghibli movies and this book gives major Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ vibes and I loves that so so much!!
Firstly, Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
by Axie Oh
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance
Publishing Date: 22nd February 2022
No. of Pages: 336
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 Shin—a mysterious young man with no soul—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…
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is about Mina, a girl who threw herself into the sea instead of Shim Cheong – A girl who was believed to be the true bride of the Sea God. Mina loved her brother Joon a lot, and when she realised Cheong was Joon’s beloved, the path she took seemed like the only way to help him. The story is not as simple as it seems. Mina was swept away into the spirit realm, with gods, spirits, and demons. But the biggest problem was that a human couldn’t survive long in the realm of spirits, and there were many who would do anything to stop Mina from succeeding in her task – the task to wake the Sea God.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a truly spectacular novel. I loved reading about the spirit realm infused with Korean myths and legends. Mina was an amazing protagonist and I instantly fell in love with her. She was compassionate, cared a lot about her family and her people. Being plunged into the spirit realm caused Mina to face some harsh truths and secrets, but she handled them as best she could with the help of some friends she made on the way. Shin was also a great character! His arc was fleshed out well and I absolutely loved him!! Speaking on Mina and Shin- their relationship was so magnificent I could not get enough!! I also really loved other side characters like Namgi, Kirin, Mask, Dai and Miki. They were all funny, interesting, and very well written!
The plot of the book was extremely engaging. The book was majorly set in the spirit realm and I loved that so much because it reminded me of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (I love that movie so much 😭). The pace of the book was perfect and it was a shorter read as compared to some other fantasy novels I’ve read </3
In conclusion everyone NEEDS to read this book 😭✋
TL;DR An alluring fantasy romance filled with Korean legends and folktales that will keep you on your toes. A short yet enriching read, and will make never want to put it down!!
Do you like fantasy with mythology and legends? Do you have any recommendations? Drop them in the comments below!!
I hope you enjoyed the review and are excited for The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea!
Sending incoherent screams about how I need more Shin and Mina content,