[REVIEW] THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH THE SEA - AXIE OH (ENGLISH REVIEW)
All reviews here are purely personal opinions and do not intend to degrade or glorify the work of others. Everyone has their own reading tastes. Thank you.
Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Author: Axie Oh
Expected Publication: 22 February 2022
Pages: 337 pages
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…
READ ALSO: [REVIEW] NOVEL XOXO - AXIE OH
Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton to give me this beautiful ARC book because I love it so much!
The first thing that made me fall in love with this book was the beautiful cover. There are 2 versions and both are beautiful in my opinion, so those who want to buy the physical book will be very confused when they see the cover of this book which is super beautiful. Besides that, reading the blurb is also very interesting. And it also raised the legend in Korea. I really like the type of fantasy that raises urban legends like this.
As the title suggests, this book is mostly set under the sea but in a version of the spirit world. Many say on Goodreads that this book is similar to Spirited Away. I watched the movie a long time ago, maybe when I was in middle school or high school, so I don't really remember but both are in the spirit world. This can be a benchmark for you who like Spirited Away, maybe you will like this book too.
This book has a very beautiful world! Because the author is able to describe the atmosphere in the spirit world very well, so I also can easily imagine it. There are palaces or big houses (think like old Korean houses), then a bustling city atmosphere, festivals, not to mention there are many gods and also mythological creatures such as dragon, imoogi and many more. When I read this book, I was very comfortable with the world that was introduced.
The conflict was clear and carried away easily. The main conflict is about how Mina can make Sea God not angry anymore and make her village safe and peaceful. However, behind that there are still several other conflicts that are raised but do not interfere with the main storyline, it actually makes it more complete. Moreover, there is a really unexpected plot twist here for me! Apart from being clearly stated, the conflict was also well resolved. Didn't leave any questions and was very satisfied with all the solutions.
For the characters here, I really like all of them! Come to think of it, there really aren't any really bad characters here. Moreover, the gods that exist are also not considered evil even though they cause chaos, in fact their stories can be said to be sad too.
Mina's closeness to the characters here is really extraordinary. There are many unexpected characters around Mina that make this book so many surprises. Mina's relationship with other characters is also very close but what I like the most is definitely Mina and Shin! Their relationship is mutual. Every time Mina has a problem there must be Shin beside her and if Shin is not fine there must be Mina. Moreover, their relationship is also quite difficult because Mina goes down to the sea to be the bride of the Sea God but she cares more about Shin! Anyway, their relationship is really sweet! Full of sacrifice and high level of trust.
Because love can't be bought or earned or even prayed for. It must be freely given. And I have given my heart to someone, but he is not the Sea God.
This book is successful in elevating the relationship between family, friendship and love. Mina is not a physically strong character, but she is smart, brave and really loves the people around her, Mina really gives up a lot of things for the people she loves. Here Mina is my favourite character in this book!
I rate 4.5/5 for this book! The book is really good, touching and I really like the description of their world in this book. And here there are also Korean folk stories read by Mina, because she is a smart storyteller, making this book even more complete. I really recommend it for those who like fantasy books with a touch of folklore with a very beautiful world!