Rating: 4/5 stars

Category: YA, Adventure, fantasy, romance

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 321

Trigger: None

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The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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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…


Mina loves her brother very much, to the extent that she follows her brother when he follows his beloved to death. In Mina’s world, the sea god has been sending waves that rock the shores of Mina’s home, so a girl is always picked to be sacrificed to the sea as the sea god’s bride. The girl Mina’s brother loves is picked to be the bride of the sea god, when it is her turn to be sacrificed, Mina’s brother will not let her go alone, which could mean death for him. Rather than see her brother suffer such a faith, Mina chooses to take the place of the sea god’s bride. On arrival in the spirit realm, things are not as they seem but Mina is armed with a dagger and her grandmother’s stories.

The author doesn’t waste time to launch into the story. The world building is done alongside the character introductions and plot progression but in such a way that you don’t feel lost as a reader. Mina is a courageous girl but not out of a sense of duty but out of love for her family, she will do anything. Shin develops a strong bond with her but it doesn’t serve the purpose that Mina came to the spirit realm for and her time is running out. Can Mina return to the human world or will she be forced to remain in the spirit realm as the bride of the sea god?

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. It was a relatively short story and for a standalone, I loved that the author was able to build such an intricate world, introduce such amazing characters and progress the plot to conclude in so little time. I loved the short chapters and the easy language the story was written in. The story is told only in Mina’s POV but her view of the world and the people around her was not narrow, so the reader gets to see all the characters introduced in an objective view, or as objective as a single POV can be. I would recommend this book to young teens as a good introduction to the fantasy genre.

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Psalm 138:7 Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me.

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