the girl who fell beneath the sea – axie oh | arc review + blog tour

The Girl who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh


Standalone
Expected publication: February 22nd 2022 by Feiwel & Friends
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Representation: Asian (Korean-inspired)

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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…

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Thank you to Colored Pages Tour for choosing me as one of the participants in the #TheGirlWhoFellBeneaththeSea tour. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in the other tour stops, check out the schedule!

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While Mina fell into the sea, I fell in love with everything from the settings to the characters to the writing. Only a true bride of the Sea God can end his wrath that has flooded villages and caused internal uproars in Mina’s homeland. A girl is brought to the sea to be sacrificed every year the storm begins. Mina, herself, has seen multiple brides jumping into the waters but the storm never truly calmed.

This year, Shim Cheong is the chosen bride. Knowing that Joon would lose the woman of his heart, Mina sacrificed herself as tribute instead. Without hesitating, she jumped into the sea. In this world, the Red String of Fate is what ties a destined couple together, and hers was linked to the Sea God, a boy-god asleep on his throne the first time they met. One of her goals while at the Spirit Realm is to end the sacrificial rite once and for all. However, time is limited as humans cannot survive for more than a month there.

“I have a name. Chosen by my grandmother to give me cleverness and strength. I know who I am, and I know what I must do.”

The Spirit Realm is home to many mythical creatures, gods, and spirits. Mina’s self-made destiny tied her together with a young man called Shin, and his friends, Namgi and Kirin. Out of the two sidekicks, Namgi is cheerful and lively and Kirin’s demeanor is cold and uncaring. Slowly though, readers find out that behind their respective dispositions, Namgi worries quite a bit and Kirin just needs time to warm up to others. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it but can I please have something between Namgi and Kirin.. in a romantic way? I mean, it’s already canon in my mind with how they’re total opposites, and the things that they say about each other just gave me an inkling.

As Mina attempts to calm the storms, Mina meets a trio: Mask, a grandmother; Dai, a little boy; and Miki, a tiny baby. They helped Mina multiple times throughout the book without hesitation or questions. It made their motives a little bit suspicious because Mina did just reach the Spirit Realm before they appeared to her aid. That chapter when everything was revealed triggered instant tears.

“I was angry, but not at you. I was angry at the fate I’d been given. Because I realized that in order for you to have what you want, I’d have to lose the only thing I’ve ever wanted.”

Adjusting to her new world was tough for Mina but her love for family and her determination to do right by them supported her will to succeed. When she started to meet more gods, Mina’s faith in them started to waver. Gods were supposed to protect humans but in fact, they were actively refusing to answer any prayers by humans. I think Mina’s compassion towards the spirits and the gods made her an extremely likable character. She doesn’t judge others and continuously believed in the good of people even when the situation is contrary.

“Wait for me
where the land meets the sea.”

If you think the romance is about the Sea God and Mina, think again. Unknowingly, Shin and Mina started to fall for one another. Shin got over his apprehension about humans and realized that Mina truly feels for both humans and gods. Shin saw Mina’s genuine desire in saving the humans from the wrath of the Sea God and to prevent any more sacrificed girls.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a solid read. I can’t praise the writing enough. Axie Oh kept me engrossed in the world and invested in the characters’ futures. There was no escaping from the vivid imagery. I’m sure there is more of the world to be explored. Putting this out in the universe to manifest: Can I have a series? A standalone isn’t enough for me. I have no complaints. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and it didn’t disappoint.

“We will always love you, because you are ours. You are our sea, and our storms, and our sunlight breaking out over a new day. You are our hope. We’ve been waiting for you for such a long time. Come back to us. Please come back.”

P.S. I also want the story of Hyeri, a former Sea God bride, and the death god. Just, please?

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author information

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