The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 22 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 23 Feb 2022

Talking about this book? Use #TheGirlWhoFellBeneathTheSea #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

Don't chase fate. Let fate chase you.

'Clever, creative, and exquisitely written' Stephanie Garber

For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina's homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curse them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a maiden is thrown into the sea, in the hopes that one day the 'true bride' will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe Shim Cheong - Mina's brother's beloved - to be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is sacrificed, Mina's brother follows her, 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 finds the Sea God, trapped in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man and a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits, Mina sets out to wake him and bring an end to the 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 a magical feminist retelling of a classic Korean legend, perfect for fans of Uprooted and Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

'A beautiful, mesmerizing retelling' Elizabeth Lim, New York Times bestselling author of Six Crimson Cranes

'A true jewel of a story' Janella Angeles, bestselling author of Where Dreams Descend

Don't chase fate. Let fate chase you.

'Clever, creative, and exquisitely written' Stephanie Garber

For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina's homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781529391695
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send To Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 153 members


Featured Reviews

This book was SO AMAZING!! I'm a big fan of the movie 'Spirited Away' and a big fan of Axie's book so I was really excited to read this! It is safe to say I loved this book a lot. I loved all the characters - Mina, Shin, Namgi, Kirin, Mask, Dai & Miki. I really enjoyed how this book was mainly set in the spirit realm and had a deep focus on bonds, relationships and family! Speaking of relationships, Shin and Mina!!! AAAA!!! They were both so amazing and I loved them together. I will definitely recommend this book to everyone </3 I will post a longer review on my socials closer to the publishing date! Thank you so much Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

This book was absolutely beautiful. With nods to The Little Mermaid and Spirited Away, it was an entity unto itself as we traveled with Mina on her fantastical adventure in the spirit world on a mission to convince the Sea God to save her village from the awful storms. The references to Korean culture and mythologies are also an important representation that we need in our literature. Reading this story shows the possibilities of their own strengths, and the importance of family. I highly suggest this book to anyone and everyone! You won't regret this read.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers Hodder & Stoughton for this arc. I loved this book so much. It has become one of my favourite books that I have read this year and I cannot wait to have the final copy when it is out next year. The relationship that Mina had with her family was beautiful to read and I teared up quite a few times whilst reading this. There was not one character that I didn't like, Shin and Mina were just adorable, the writing was amazing and I could really picture everything in great detail as if I was actually there! I also loved the Korean culture and mythology that was in this book. I highly recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

Oh my gosh I adored this book. As soon as I saw the cover I knew I wanted to read it and then when I read it is a retake on a Korean legend/myth I knew I needed it even more, so I was so excited to be given the chance to read it. I loved it, the writing was amazing, the setting was stunning and the characters were so well developed and endearing. I loved the relationships within the book also, which really brought extra depth to the emotions of the story. I really enjoyed it and will definitely reread it over and over.

Was this review helpful?

I loved The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea so much! It was such an easy read and I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day. Also the comparison to Spritited Away is definitely accurate as this book had quite a few scenes that reminded me of the movie. I think the only negative about this book is that I guessed the twist from the very beginning but it didn't bother me at all as it was just written so beautifully. Also the cover of this book is absolutely stunning! Thank you netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I received this ARC thanks to the Publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. "Don't chase fate, Mina. Let fate chase you" Meet Mina, 16 year old living in a world where people fear the sea god's wrath this much, to send him a new bride every year by sacrificing a young woman, with throwing her into the sea. She's never indifferent to the poor brides, but when it happens that the one to be thrown to the sea next is her brother's beloved she takes fate into her own hands. description "How can you save the Sea God, yet not save yourself?" Arriving at the spirit world, Mina meets a bunch of people who at first she neither sees as friends or foes, but with time she realises each of us is less or more connected by destiny, and a string of fate. description "And what would the sea god's bride do, once she's found him?" "She would show him her heart." Her story started with a simple wish to save her borther's happiness sacrificing her own, but ambition grew with passing days and befriending her new encounters she realised there is a world to save and a greater curse to break. What I truly loved about this story, is even with Mina leaving her birth family in the very beginning, she found her very own one by her selfless act. And who says one has to choose between your blood and found kindred? description "Be angry at the goddess, Mina. But never"—she grabs my trembling shoulders—"never lose your faith in her." Saving the world by becoming ones true love sounds simple and straightforward, but Axie Oh gave this plot so many twists and turns, I felt captivated from the beginning till the very end. Nothing is quite what it seems, and reader can unravel all the secrets following Mina on her journey. description "You have to believe in something to be the god of it." If you're a fan of The Wrath and the Dawn, Beauty and the Beast or Your name please consider falling beneath the sea along Mina when the book comes out, my heart craving fantasy overflown with asian folklore and curse to be broken by love felt very content and would gladly stay in the spirit world for another adventure.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Hodderscope, Axie Oh and Netgalley for giving me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. This book. This beautiful book. The imagery, the language, the flow, the characters, all of it was just *chefs kiss*. I am obsessed. It had a few twists, loveable characters (here's looking at you, Mina!) and let's not forget its beautiful cover. I'm really looking forward to getting a physical copy of this book, Oh is definitely becoming an instant buy author for me.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author, Axie Oh for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book follows Mina, a girl who sacrifices herself in place of her brother's beloved as the Sea God's bride. Finding herself in the spirit realm, a magical city, Mina seeks out the Sea God only to find him in an enchanted sleep. With help from people she meets in the spirit realm, Mina sets out to wake the Sea God. This book is absolutely brilliant. What originally drew me to this book was the cover and the book did not disappoint. From page one, I was instantly drawn into the story and invested in the characters. The book doesn't wait around and jumps straight into the action, which makes for a well-paced book. The writing style is beautiful. The author has a way of capturing wonder and intrigue and telling the reader in such a stunning way. I couldn't stop reading and ended up reading this book very quickly. What really impresses me about Mina is that she is a well-developed, strong female lead who also has her vulnerabilities. I loved seeing the story through Mina's eyes and come to understand things as she does. This book is stunning, heart-wrenchingly beautiful and touches on topics like grief, family and love. It made me feel every emotion and brought me close to tears. The ending (no spoilers) is gorgeous and ties everything up perfectly. I will be waiting to hold a physical copy of this book to admire and read it once more.

Was this review helpful?

A fresh and exciting fairytale based on a Korean myth. This was deep (no pun intended) nuanced and exquisitely wrought. A charming piece of fantasy whimsy about family, duty and love. Read in two sittings.

Was this review helpful?

Happy Wednesday Friends🎉❤️ Today we're going to talk about the absolute magic that is The girl who fell beneath the sea!!🌊 This was such a wonderful read! Trust me when I say the story starts with a bang and does not disappoint 😂💖 The book follows Mina our main character who sacrifices herself as the Sea Gods Bride in order to save her brothers beloved from the very same fate. (and let me tell you friends, Mina was such a delightful character to read about!!) The writing in this book is so beautifully poetic I found myself being swept away just as Mina was. Something that I really appreciated was the theme of family in this story, it was so intricately done weaving in such important themes of love, loss and hope.💖 I was absolutely obsessed with the descriptions of the spirit realm, the mythical creatures and the beautiful festivals, it was all so incredibly atmospheric!! 🌊 The girl who fell beneath the sea releases on 22 February 2022 (everyone mark your calenders😂❤️) Also can we all please take a moment to appreciate this beautiful cover 😭

Was this review helpful?

I am in love. It takes a lot for me to love a book. I give out 2-starred-reviews like popcorn because I am incredibly picky, especially when it comes to YA Historical Fantasy like this. I read this ARC blind, only have read the description briefly, and have stared at the cover for 24h, because I truly didn't have any expectations. I requested this ARC solely for the cover, so I started this book with a "meh whatever". Instead of a mediocre sandwich I had expected, I got a whole feast with everything I have ever wanted. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a story about Mina Song, a sixteen-year-old girl from a small village that had been ravaged by natural catastrophes. People believed that the suffering comes from the wrath of the Sea God. Every year a beautiful girl will be thrown into the ocean as a sacrifice to the Sea God. Mina has thrown herself in the ocean to save her beloved brother's wife. As a human in the Spirit Realm, Mina is determined to save her people before it's too late. I cannot begin to describe how stunning the writing is. I have heard good things about Axie Oh's writing, but nothing could have prepared me for this. The prose is incredibly elegant, and it embraces the dreamy side of Asian mythology/fairytales. There are a lot of Asian myths in the book, which embellish the original story even more. I adore every single character. They are lovely individuals, with the real motives that justify their actions. I adore Shin, Namgi, and Mask. Every character has depth, and I think that's why I love the romance so much. The soulmate trope in this book killed me and there was one passage so painful (featuring an unconscious Mina and Shin - if you know you know) that I ended up crying in the train. Overall The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea has become one of my all-time favorites. I am glad that I have discovered it because the ride was just a magnificent experience. Big regards to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with this digital ARC in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Was this review helpful?

I received a copy of the book from netgalley. The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh foolows Mina, who's homeland has been ravaged by deadly storms, lost villages to floods and the few remaining resources are fought over in bloody wars. Her people believe this is the Sea God's doing and to appease him, they send a beautiful maiden into the sea each year to serve as his bride hoping that one day the true bride will be sent in and end their suffering. It's believed that Shim Cheong is the true bride but on the night she is to be sacrificed, Mina takes her place as Cheong is the beloved of her brother. In the spirit realm, Mina finds the Sea God in an enchanted sleep and sets out to wake him. 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… This book was incredible, there was a big focus on family and some moments brought tears to my eyes. It explored loss, love and hope which made for a beautiful story. Mina was a great protagonist, she's determined, caring and focused on achieving her goals. There are a lot of side characters who were very sweet and I loved them all by the end. And the slow-burn romance between Mina and Shin was perfect. The spirit realm was enchanting, I loved the descriptions of the houses, the festivals and the different mythical creatures. The plot took us on a captivating journey with many lovely moments and interactions. The twists felt natural and the action scenes were well written. Overall, I think everyone would enjoy this, it's a beautiful book and I definitely recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

Wow this story is so charming! Mina a girl who saves everyone but herself, a beautifully written tale with characters you will fall in love with and will be cheering on till the end. A tale of the sea god and the emperor, of sacrifices, young love and destiny all wrapped in a beautiful package. 5 stars you will not want to read this in one sitting!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much, NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review. Deadly storms have ravaged Mina's homeland and everyone believed the Sea God cursed them. To appease him each year a maiden is thrown into the sea. When her brother's beloved is chosen to be the legendary Sea God's bride and he decides to interfere, Mina is ready to do anything to save him and decides to go into the water instead of the girl. Into the Spirit Realm, a world made of lesser gods, beasts and magic, Mina finds the Sea God in an enchanted sleep so she and a motley crew try everything to wake him and stop the storms. But a human can't stay too long into the Spirit Realm and there are those who don't want to wake the Sea God. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a feminist retelling of a classic Korean legend, brilliant and feminist. I loved reading this book! The setting is evocative and lush, the characters so brilliant and complex and I loved everything! I was captured by the story since the beginning and between gods and demons and magic it was such a windwhirl of feelings! The girl who fell beneath the sea was one of my most anticipated reads and I was so glad to read it!

Was this review helpful?

•~Book Review~• 🍃 "Your people suffer not because of any great will of the gods,but because of their own violent acts. They wage the war that burn the forests and fields. They spill the blood that pollutes the rivers and streams. To blame the gods is to blame the land itself. Look upor your reflection to find the enemy. 🍃 The girl who fell beneath the Sea is not just a fantasy fiction that transports you to some.magival world of adventures. On thr contrary, it grounds you down with the turmoil going around in this world, compelling you to think. In thr garb of a magical fantasy, it speaks of the underlying issues and most importantly raise the questions : Has god truly abandoned us to face such hostility? Or Is it our lack of belief, love and understanding on them and on ourselves that has brought us to war, famine and such issues that plague us. 🍃 The story begins with Mina Song who jumps into the ocean, this readily sacrificing herself to calm the wrath of the sea god, who has abandoned her village every since their emperor was killed by a conqueror, whom he loved more than anything. Every year a bride is chosen and sacrificed on the day of the unearthly storm to appease the sea god so that the land regains its glory and to put an end to their misery. Shim Cheong, the love of Mina's brother Joon was selected as the sea god's bride. Seeing their perils, Mina sacrifices herself, only to find herself intact with a red glistening ribbon attached to her wrist and connected to something or someone she doesn't know. Where is she? What is she going to do? Can she as the sea god's bride calm the sea god down and bring back the long lost prosperity of her land? Read the book to know more. This book is very much recommended by me and Thank you to Axie Oh and Netgalley for the e-ARC. 🍃 " Beneath the sea, the dragon sleeps What is he dreaming of? Beneath the sea, the dragon sleeps When will he wake? On a dragon's pearl, your wish will leap. On a dragon's pearl, your wish will leap. "

Was this review helpful?

What a fantastic book! The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a wonderful journey which will keep you guessing and reading until the end. The book follows Mina, a young girl from a village by the sea…but it isn’t a nice place to live when the storms start. Mina’s people believe that the Sea God is angry and he is punishing them by sending vicious storms so they decide to send a young maiden to the sea to marry the God and stop the storms. This particular year it’s the turn of Shim Cheong, a girl from the same village as Mina and also the sweetheart of Mina’s brother Joon. When Mina sees Shim hesitate to jump, she knows how upset Joon will be so she jumps into the water instead. Mina gets swept down to the Spirit Realm where she finds the Sea God in a deep sleep in which he cannot wake from. Mina must try to waken him with the help of lesser Gods and the spirits that live in the realm. But it’s never as easy as it sounds and there are those that want the Sea God to stay as he is and will do anything to keep him as he is. I loved the story of Mina and how she is determined to save everyone but herself. A magical blend of fantasy, adventure and romance all written with a beautifully elegant touch. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea is a captivatingly lush and utterly compelling, feminist retelling of Korean legend Shim Cheong. YA fantasy fans are going to love this, it’s absolutely stunning! For generations deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland. Her people believe the Sea God who once protected their land has now cursed them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a girl is chosen to be thrown into the sea, in hopes that one day a ‘true bride’ will be chosen and end all their suffering. But the chosen ‘bride’ is the girl Joon (mina’s brother) loves and his plan to interfere with the sacrifice is a death sentence. To save her brother Mina takes Cheong’s place. Swept away to the spirit realm (a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts), Mina finds the Sea God trapped in an enchanted sleep. With help from the mysterious Shin and a motley group of demons, gods and spirits, Mina plans to wake him and finally end the storms once and for all. This was absolutely amazing! Axie Oh’s writing is exquisite and the world building was utterly breathtaking, I loved how vividly detailed and otherworldly it felt not to mention the slowburn (and emotionally intense) romance which was utterly divine! Mina was a remarkable protagonist: strong, compassionate, willing to sacrifice herself to save the one’s she loves—and it’s that selfless and empathetic nature that made her one of my fave characters (alongside Shin, Mask,Dai, baby Miki, Kirin and Namgi-trust me your gonna love them all.) I did figure out the identities of a few characters about halfway through the book but, the reveal was so well crafted (I literally cried happy tears) that working it out beforehand didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all. I’m also impressed with just how effortlessly Axie Oh has reimagined a story that heavily involves sacrifice into an empowering and heartwarming tale love and family that just I didn’t want to end. Overall, this masterfully written retelling is full of love,perseverance, friendship and above all, hope. If you loved Studio Ghibli’s Spirited away then you’re gonna absolutely love this—it’s soo good! Also thanks to Hodder&Stoughton and Netgalley for the e-arc.

Was this review helpful?

An absolutely beautiful retelling of a Korean myth with enchanting world building and a gutsy heroine. The story builds slowly, pulling you in to the magical world of gods and monsters and introducing a cast of characters both good and evil. There's a loving family with a wise grandmother whose stories are peppered throughout the plot, deep friendship, loyalty and love. Altogether an excellent, enthralling read.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an e-ARC of this book for an honest review! All comments and thoughts are my own. "The Sea God isn't angry, Mina. He's lost. He's waiting, in his palace far beyond this world, for someone brave enough to find him." Has Axie Oh fast become one of my favourite authors? That would be a resounding yes! She is what I like to call a genre-chameleon, who can skip from action-packed dystopian to fluffy romance to lush fantasy seemingly effortlessly. The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea is a beautiful story based on the Korean folktale Shim Cheong, the girl who jumped into the sea. But this novel turns it on it's head - what would happen if someone took Shim Cheong's place, and she never sacrificed herself to the the Sea God to stop the annual storms that plague her people? What would happen if instead of the beautiful Shim Cheong, raised to be the Sea God's bride, it is Mina who falls beneath the sea and ends up in the otherworldly land of the gods? "In another life, you might have found a more welcome shore than this. As it is, the sea is dark and the Sea God sleeps, and the shore is too far to reach." Not only does this book spin a wonderful new version of a cherished and beloved story, there are other familiar Korean folktales woven in as Mina's stories, which she tells throughout the book. The descriptions of the city of the gods, inhabited by hundreds of spirits, are so vivid I really felt I was there with Mina. There will no doubt be comparisons to Spirited Away - a human girl in a city of spirits and gods, the imminent danger of her fading away, beautiful dragons and curses to break. But this is in no way a copy of that beloved film - it is it's own fantastic tale with action, friendships, love and the red string of fate. "I was angry at the fate I'd been given. Because I realised that in order for you to have what you want, I'd have to lose the only thing I've ever wanted." This book had a whole host of characters you can't help but love, from stoic and serious Kirin, to flirty and witty Namgi and the trio of spirits who help Mina on her journey - Mask, Dai and Miki. And then there are Lord Shin and the Sea God himself, both handsome and mysterious, and Mina finds herself strangely drawn to the two of them. I read this book in 24 hours and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the physical copy when it releases - both the US and UK covers are so incredibly beautiful, it's hard to decide which I love the most!

Was this review helpful?

AHHHH I LOVE IT. Man, it’s been forever since I finished a book in a day— that’s how good this book is. Highly recommend it for anyone who likes Elizabeth Lim's writing (The Blood of the Stars duology, Six Crimson Cranes duology). The story wastes no time plunging Mina into the Spirit Realm, immediately pulling you in at a pace that never faltered throughout the whole story. I ended up racing through the book without realizing it! The story is tight and consistent with the way it applies the idea of storytelling. Mina grew up with a storytelling grandmother, and these stories give us a richer idea of the mythologies and beliefs in Mina's world. Additionally, her grandmother influenced Mina to be a storyteller herself, and it came in handy while overcoming her obstacles. Now for some quickfire compliments: Mina is amazing; the Studio Ghibli reference is excellent; the romance, though slow to build up (which is good!), was cute; the supporting cast is fantastic and nuanced; and the ending, while bittersweet, is satisfying. Overall, this is a beautiful fantastical retelling of Shim Cheong that places storytelling at its core. Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for providing me with the e-ARC.

Was this review helpful?

A sumptuous fairy-tale world to dive into full of whimsy and heart. Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli!

Was this review helpful?

For one hundred years, deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland. Each year a woman is sacrificed to appease the Sea God. To save her bother, Mina sacrifices herself, dropping deep into the ocean and down into the Spirit Realm – a city of lesser Gods and mythical creatures. But her time is running out, in a month she will turn into a spirit herself; so she must convince the Sea God to help her people. This is a story of hope, love and the bonds that tie people together. I loved this book. It was so emotional, so magical to read. Mina was such a great character, and she was constantly surrounded by so many good people, and learning about their interesting or heart-breaking stories. The world was so gorgeous to see on the page. This is definitely a favourite of mine, it's so reminiscent of fairy tales, so magical and vivid; so it deserves the hype. TW // death mentioned, injury

Was this review helpful?

Thanks Netgalley and Publisher for the opportunity to read and review. It was AMAZING and truly magical experience even though the first person narrative will always be something I don't prefer, but the book deserves the 5 star rate, even with this issue. The beginning starts a little slow, but the moment Mina meets Shin, Namgi and Kirin the gears start to turn and from there on you're more and more engrossed by the story with every single page. The spirit world is described beautifully and makes you long to be there with Mina herself. The characters are mysterious, intriguing, deep, complex and totally win your heart over the course of the story. The story involves themes like the true meaning of fate and the importance of family love and bonds. We have rich magical world filled with complex gods and mythical creatures and slow-burn, bittersweet romance. The entire book is magnificent magical experience which I recommend to everyone!

Was this review helpful?

Spirited Away is my favorite Studio Ghibli film and so I was really excited to read The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea . Having been a fan of Axie Oh's writing since reading her YA contemporary earlier this year, I knew I would love this book. And I did. One of my favourite parts about this book was the worldbuilding; the way the locations in the book were described was so beautiful. Mina was a wonderful character; brave and courageous and so full of love for her family, that I knew she would become my favourite. The development she undergoes, as she traverses across the spirit realm and faces many difficult tasks and truths, was amazing to see. Another one of my favourite things about this book was Mina's relationship with Shin; it was full of tension and angst and I loved how things turned out for them. Shin was also an amazing, complex and well-written character with a great arc in the story. Mina also had, on her side, an incredible supporting cast of characters, all of whom played a part in making this book so awesome to read. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is the perfect, short and fast paced standalone fantasy that you can finish really quickly! I highly recommend this one and I cannot wait to hold a physical copy in my hands!

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely stunning , every single word that Axie oh wrote for this book was so beautiful I will be talking about it for life . Mina is not the sea God's bride until she jumps in place of the person who is and then her fate is tied to something or rather someone she never thought of. The girl who fell beneath the sea is a retelling of a Korean folklore, of a God that has been curse , of people who are suffering for it and only the true bride of the sea god can mend it . Mina was a strong , lovable main character, you find yourself rooting for her from the very beginning. Lord shin is the ever so charming love interest who was totally able to swoon me over with his beautiful dialogs and heartwarming character . The found family , one bed , caring for the hurt one , enemies to lovers all the tropes worked so well with one another making it a 5 star read and one of my favorite books ever . Even the plots twists left me shook and wanting to read more . Even though the start was a bit slow , it gains pace and doesn't let your attention wander around . I love Axie oh's books and this one was no different, thank you so much netgalley and hodder & stoughton for providing me an arc , will review it on all my socials closer to the release date .

Was this review helpful?

I was so excited to be able to access this book early and it didn’t disappoint! Huge thank you to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book early!

Was this review helpful?

Axie Oh has done it once more! Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to review this amazing book! This was such an intriguing read that kept my heart beating throughout the whole book. The plot and it's premise, the characters, the relationships were all amazing! I absolutely loved it. This is certainly a great book to read and wrap my year with! The chemistry and relationships between the characters was so sweet and cute, and the way that the romance built up along with the plot kept me hooked on. I absolutely love Mina and Shin! They are amazing, and so cute. The plot was also well built and I loved how Axie laid it out and wrote it. The writing was very calming to me and it made me enjoy the book even more! You should definitely read this book soon! It is amazing!!

Was this review helpful?

I really loved this! This book has definite Spirited Away vibes which I LOVE. The settings and characters were unique and intriguing and from the very first page I was hooked! throughout the whole book I had to battle with whizzing through it because I just had to find out what happened next, and wanting to take my time to enjoy every little detail of the characters and the world that the author has created. I loved it and will definitely be buying a copy when it comes out, as well as recommending it in the library.

Was this review helpful?

Axie Oh does it again! She creates wonderful (+ diverse) characters from scratch and makes them more human than ever. In THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH THE SEA, she manipulates a well-known Chinese folktale and bend the world of fantasy to her will. My favourite part of this book would be the fact that the Gods (playing love interests at least) weren't millions of years older but rather the same age. Full review to come on my blog soon!

Was this review helpful?

Truly spectacularly beautiful read. It is the perfect book for fans of Spirited Away and authors like Elizabeth Lim. It was just so scenic, atmospheric, and truly swept me away to another world, which we all need right now. Stunning.

Was this review helpful?

I love a retelling so when I read the synopsis for this I knew it was one I wanted to read and I am so glad I did as I loved it. Everything about this book from the cover to the characters was brilliant. I loved following Mina's journey and getting an insight into Korean mythology. The tale was fast paced and full of emotion and I cant wait to see what the author brings us next.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions and thoughts are my own. Have you ever read a book that has everything you love and more? That was this book for me. Based off a tale from Korean mythology, The title basically gives you the premise - the story starts off with Mina, who fell into the sea to take her sister-in-law's place as the Sea God's bride. Though I predicted all of the plot twists, especially who Miki, Dai, and Mask were and the identity of the Sea God, I think I would have been less satisfied if my predictions did not come true. This is a testament to how well-written this book is - the plot twists truly enriched the book, instead of being there just for shock value. To add, each character had their own role to play, each one being equally necessary to the flow of events, no matter how minor of a character they were. This cinematic tale is a heart wrenching story of love, loss, and fate. There are so many layers, and each one of them tugged at my heartstrings. I appreciate how the importance of familial love was treated with equal respect to the love interest, because most YA books tend to favour chosen love over family. My favourite character is definitely Mina, with Shin being a close second. Mina is not necessarily a brilliant warrior, or a super powerful being, but she's just a girl with a big heart. She does everything with her whole heart, going so far as to jump into the sea (and potentially drown to death) just for the sake of her brother and his wife. The stories that she told the Sea God to break his curse were also told with passion - you could feel how much she "felt" while telling him these stories, and how badly she wanted to save him. She is a great friend to everyone, putting all of her new friends beneath the sea before herself. And when she grew to love, she loved hard. She was such a light in the book amidst all the gloom, and she has become one of my favourite protagonists. Mina's superpower is definitely her generous love and tender kindness, a nice contrast to the typical YA protagonists nowadays. Shin is the mysterious grump, the minimalistic warrior who introduces himself as a nobleman in the Sea God's court. He does everything dutifully, remaining respectful at all times. Though Shin does not reveal much through his words, the way he feels translates perfectly. He slowly begins to open up, and everything falls into place. Also, how could you not swoon reading Shin's lines towards the end? This warrior is a downright romantic, for someone who is supposed to be stone cold. All of his words went straight to my heart, and I was clutching my chest while reading the last quarter of the book. I am also a sucker for the one-year-later epilogues, and the way this one was written was just too beautiful for me to put into words, not just because of how it turned out for Mina and the Sea God, but for how it turned out for everyone. It almost got me teary-eyed! I've quite literally just finished the book, and I can't find a substantial thing to critique. If anything, I wished for more character descriptions, but I don't think the book is any less fantastic without them. I know this is a standalone, but I wouldn't mind reading another book about Shiki and his court. He was a very intriguing side character, and I would love a glimpse into his side of the sea. I feel like there is a lot more to him than what we know! In essence, you have slowburn, soulmates, found family, dragons, and a really interesting lore. What's not to love? The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea is perfectly suited for the target YA audience. Definitely one of my most anticipated releases for 2022! 5 out of 5 stars!

Was this review helpful?

in Book Reviews · December 19, 2021 Book Review | The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh Share Tweet Pin Share A while ago I heard about a story that was similar to Studio Ghibli creator Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, and really that was all I needed to be very excited about this gorgeous book, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, by Axie Oh. Huge thank you to Kate from Hodder for providing me with a physical proof (it came in such an adorable little package) and… I fell in love with this story. Full review below! About the Book Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea Series: Standalone Author: Axie Oh Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Release Date: February 22nd 2022 Pages: 336 Source: Proof copy gifted by the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased) Rating: ★★★★★ 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…‘ Review I guess I’ll start off this review by saying that if you’re after a book that will 100% have you in tears, this is a very very good choice. Happy tears at the end! And then sad tears when you realise it’s the end… I had to double check for more pages. It had a perfect ending for a standalone, I just wanted more of the beautiful story! US Cover Illustrated by Kuri Huang Also, this is another book where you’re very likely to be struggling between the gorgeous UK cover, as illustrated by Karl James Mountford (featured above) and the US cover which can be found to the right. Honestly, both of them are perfect for the story. Get both if you can :’) SO! The story. Our main character, Mina, knows that her brother Joon is unbelievably in love with Shim Cheong, and she him. But, Shim Cheong is the most beautiful girl in the village, and so she’s believed to be the girl fated to end the curse of the Sea God, which would be from being sacrificed to him to become the Sea God’s bride. Mina knows that Joon is trying to stop it from happening, and to keep both him and Shim Cheong safe she intervenes and sacrifices herself instead. (Being taken to the Sea God’s spirit realm by a DRAGON, no less.) Once Mina is in the spirit realm, she finds that the beloved Sea God is no more than a mere boy, stuck in a very long sleep. Here is where she also meet Lord Shin… who tasks himself with protecting the Sea God, and so separates Mina’s fate from that of the Sea God’s, to keep him safe. In doing so, Mina is separated from her own spirit, which is then stolen by Shin. Things don’t exactly go to plan… and Mina ends up with her fate tied to Shin’s. This happens within the first third of the book and everything gets so much more eventful after that (which is saying something, because even before then so much happens). Mina has a love for stories, thanks to her Grandmother, and this results in us hearing a lot of them throughout which just add to magical elements of the story itself. At one point, she actually tells the Tale of Shim Cheong itself. When I went to write up this review, it was actually the first time I looked into ‘The Tale of Shim Cheong‘, the Korean folktale the story is a retelling of. So… in the folktale, Shim Cheong sacrifices herself to “cure” her father’s blindness, and ends up marrying the emperor as a reward whilst her father regains his eyesight. I love how Axie turned the tale into such a beautiful story, and I really love how there’s no change to Shim Cheong’s father. I don’t know if it was intended to be that way, but to me it seems like Axie’s way of saying Shim Cheong’s father’s blindness never needed to be “cured”, and I love that. In terms of the world-building, it is genuinely beautiful. The idea of a world under the sea with floating fish, dragons and other mythical creatures… although it sounds dangerous, it would also be gorgeous to see. Axie Oh writes it in such a way you can picture it all perfectly. Characters, obviously Mina is a remarkable girl. She doesn’t take long to decide to sacrifice everything she has to save her brother and throughout the story she’s determined to break the Sea God’s curse and save the living people, no matter what sacrifices she has to give up along the way to achieve this. She goes through heartbreak and is hurt physically, but even still she persists throughout to help as many as she can. Shin is one of those secret cinnamon rolls. He appears mysterious and heartless but you quickly find out that there is a lot more to him, and he’d do anything for his friends. Including Namgi and Kirin, who basically act like two brothers who squabble consistently but they are equally lovely people. Mina also meets three mysterious spirits in the world, who help her from their very first encounter, Dai, Mask and baby Miki. Every time they popped up in the story, I couldn’t help but smile. They’re forever cute and these six characters definitely end up fulfilling the ‘found family’ trope (a personal favourite). The world may be beautiful, but it’s also deadly. And Mina finds out that there a lot who are hoping to destroy the Sea God once and for all. Her faith in the gods and goddesses is tested also, as she finds out they aren’t all she had hoped for. Of course, the biggest comparison is that of to Spirited Away… but I will admit at times I was also reminded of Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle. So, basically, if you love Ghibli in general you’ll love this story. You’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry and you’ll smile a lot reading this story. It’s one that you 100% need to get your preorders in for!

Was this review helpful?

there is so much comfort found within the stories of this book, each character brought so much to this story and i adored it. the story has been so beautifully thought out and created and i cherished reading it. i can’t wait for everyone to read this story!

Was this review helpful?

I devoured this book. It is the kind that will keep you turning the page as the clock strikes 4am, and that’s exactly what I did. I cannot rate this book highly enough. The world created by the author is so complex, and yet it is told to the reader so simply that you don’t have to try hard to find yourself immersed in it. Before reading this book. I had seen a small section of a review comparing the novel to spirited away, and it definitely has that feel about it. The author is able to balance the mortal world with the otherworldliness of the sea gods kingdom, and makes you the reader feel as though we could find ourselves there one day, just beneath the waves. The characters were written really well, I felt as though I could connect to every one of them, and Mina as the heroine is someone that you are rooting for the entire way through the book. There are a few twists and turns, and the author doesn’t give much away. There are a few hints to some of the plot lines which are easily noticed in hindsight, once we are told the truth. But the reason I could not put this book down was that I genuinely did not know how it would turn out, how Mina would save her people, if she would be able to leave the sea. The plot is so well constructed, every tiny detail is necessary for some reason or other, that is not immediately clear. I would recommend this book, and I will be re-reading again in the future. I would love a sequel!

Was this review helpful?

I have seen some reviews of Axie Oh's 'Xoxo' (yet to read that one) and so the moment I saw the author's name, my fingers involuntarily moved to the request button. If there was any hesitation that was spirited away by that gorgeous cover (you will probably get a headache choosing the US and UK editions). Really hard to resist a mythological retelling wrapped in such a charming cover. I can't say that the story is unique; seasoned fantasy readers might guess the plot from the very beginning. Well, it didn't really go the way I thought, except for the mystery surrounding the Sea God (spot-on on that one). What makes this such an enchanting read is the remarkable prose that pulls you into this world and the courageous girl willing to fight her fate. Away from home, she builds a new family of kindred spirits supporting every step of her way. Shin and his companions is another unforgettable bunch providing an equal mix of hilarity and severity. Wouldn't mind seeing Namgi and Kirin again in another adventure in their own separate stories. A wonderful story about family and fighting for what you love. Five glowing stars without a doubt!

Was this review helpful?

Okay, so since Spirited Away is my favorite movie of all times this was a clear must-read for me from the get-go and I am so happy it actually managed to deliver. It's a beautifully written retelling of a classic korean tale and I was completely enchanted by it. I don't know much about korean mythology, but it felt a lot like reading one of the Ghibli movies I love. I was immediately taken in by the adorable characters in the whimsical, imaginitive spirit realm it was set in. The story focuses on bonds between friends and family next to the sweetest love story. It was a really quick read and easy read for me that I couldn't put down. The ending is rather predictable, but I really didn't mind. It's an absolute feel-good story to me and I adored it so much. I will definitely buy the book when it comes out, so I can re-read in the future. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Each year a maiden is sacrificed to the Sea God to hold back his storms for another year. This year the Sea God’s Bride is the girl that Joon loves and his sister will not let them be separated. Minna is not the prettiest girl in the village, or the most graceful, or the most talented, but she will not let this stop her taking the place of the Sea God’s Bride and jumping into the sea herself. When she arrives in the spirit realm, it is not as she expected. The Sea God is asleep and her red string of fate seems confused about which way to lead her. After a series of emotional events, Minna must end things exactly how she began: by choosing her own fate. The red string of fate is a continuing motif throughout this book and, whilst it might seem a cheesy concept, it is beautifully done. Bringing an outdated trope to life in physical form worked to reinvent it into a powerful tool of love and sacrifice and choice. The time-old battle between love and duty was also given new life in this book as Minna approaches the issue with minimal fuss and a simplicity that highlights the true strength of her character. It is these choices that shape the book, creating a hugely inspiring overarching theme of free will. Even the unique setting of the book works to assert free will as the river that runs through the spirit realm offers a choice and most of the characters are present only through their own choices to free themselves from the river and live a second life a spirits in this realm. From the brash and loyal Namgi to the unassuming Dai and baby Mikki, each and every character steals your heart in their own way. Minna, of course, steals the show with her generously given heart, her quiet confidence, and her unwavering determination. The characters of Shin and the Sea God are woven out of mystery and watching Minna work to unravel both their mysteries is a real treat.

Was this review helpful?

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a YA retelling of the Korean folktale, The Tale of Shim Cheong. It is a standalone fantasy story that follows Mina, a sixteen year old girl, who becomes the Sea God's Bride to save her brother and his loved one. This book contains a compelling story, a vivid world and wonderfully written characters. I loved seeing the character development throughout and there are so many wonderful characters within this story. This was so enjoyable to read and I definitely recommend checking this one out. I highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

I couldn't resist this book. First off, the cover is absolutely breathtaking, secondly, the characters and the storyline were so magically crafted I couldn't put it down. I normally can predict the way a book will go based on the tropes it features but this kept tripping me up and changing my mind! I gasped, laughed and even cried at this book. The main character had such a fantastic development, at first, I thought she was quite silly and brash but then I began to understand her. I was really worried about how this would end as well considering it's standalone but Axie Oh did not disappoint at all. Her other work XOXO is now top of my TBR. Highly recommend if you enjoy KDramas, Mythology, The Little Mermaid and Studio Ghibli movies.

Was this review helpful?

This year is looking amazing in terms of YA fantasy. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a retelling of the Korean folk story The Tale of Shim Cheong, and is reminiscent of the anime film Spirited Away. Mina, the protagonist, takes the place of the bride being sacrificed to the sea god in order to save her brother, and finds herself on the path of attempting to undo the curse of floods and storms which have threatened her village for so long. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I loved the worldbuilding in the story, and the writing style, which was lyrical without being distracting or slowing down the plot. What really blew me away, however, were the twists that were built up throughout regarding Shin and the various supporting characters, and how Mina's actions become entwined with them. I also loved Mina's determination, and the way the story subverted ideas around sacrifice. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The ending, and book overall, satisfied the part of me that has always longed for a sequel to Spirited Away. It's a standalone but I found myself wishing that I could stay in the story for much longer, and the romance that developed had me melting towards the end. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Highly recommended and definitely one of my top books of the year.

Was this review helpful?

This books is just so whimsical and romantic and made my heart feel so full! The writing is truly beautiful and just made me fall completely in love with the world. I honestly can’t sing this books praises enough, it’s been a new all time favourite of mine, and I can not wait for my physical copy to arrive and to reread it straight away. I loved Mina so much, she wasn’t afraid to be scared and just kept trying to do everything she possibly could to save her village. The romance between her and Shin was just so cute but I think my favourite relationship of this book is the one Mina has with herself. I can not recommend this book enough and will be shooting about it for a long time. I highly recommend this book to readers who are fans of Stephanie Garber’s books, they share the same beautiful fairytale-esque vibes.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 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 is a brilliant character. She’s fearless, willing to sacrifice herself to ensure another’s happiness, and so determined to see her goals come to fruition that she simply refuses to give up - on anything, or anyone. Her selflessness really drew me in and I remained in awe of her character throughout the book as she seemed to only flourish in her kindness. Her interactions with other characters - namely the Sea God and Shin - really brought the story to life and had me hook, line and sinker. All other characters were also expertly crafted to bring their essence forth into the story and liven it up further. Mask, Dai and baby Miki were an absolute treat to read and the likes of Kirin and Namgi brought a smile to my face. Oh’s writing is genius. This is the first of Oh’s works that I’ve read and you bet your tush I need more immediately. There’s something so easy about the writing that draws me in and keeps me there. The world building is flawless in my opinion and everything flowed just as it needed to. Not once did I feel bored of what I was reading, we jump straight in from the offset and we keep going until the end. The slow-burn, almost love triangle, romance was brilliant. I’m not normally a fan of a loooong slow-burn but this had me eager to see what was going to happen and who would be chosen. Well done Axie Oh for this masterpiece! Overall, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a brilliant story full of hope and wonderment that makes you desperate for more. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 Thank you again to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advanced copy of this book. Review will be live on my blog on 21st February.

Was this review helpful?

i previously had read XOXO by the same author which I enjoyed but didn't love as much as I thought I would, so I was hesitant on whether I'll love this one or not. I'm so glad that I did. Axie Oh's writing in this was just so magical and idyllic, and I loved the world she had created in this. This reads so so much like a fairy tale and it definitely has that Ghibli vibes I love so much in a fantasy book. If you previously have read and liked Elizabeth Lim's Six Crimson Cranes, this one has almost the same vibes. I love Mina so much, and I think using her perspective to view the story was a great choice on Oh's part. It made me love her character even more by seeing her internal conflict and turmoil. I also love the friendship she struck with the women characters in this story and how they support each other, the friendship with Namgi (my softest boy I love him), the friendship with the spirits, and also of course the romance. I didn't think I was going to like this book for the romance as much so I was surprised by how much I root for them at the end, and I grew to love the love interest as well. I will definitely read more of Axie Oh's writing in the future, especially if she makes more fantasy because oh this was good. If you like magical writing, Ghibli vibes in a book, softhearted yet fierce main character, dark brooding but turns out he's a softie love interest, I would definitely recommend this to you. Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the arc.

Was this review helpful?

I feel so lucky to have received an ARC of this book and can’t wait until everyone else is able to enjoy it too. I thought the description sounded so interesting, and it didn’t disappoint at all. There is so much to love about this book. The characterisation is strong, the world building is detailed without feeling out of control, and the writing is beautiful yet very accessible. The story was whimsical and lovely, with a whole host of interesting characters. It’s hard to pick out my favourite characters as they were all filled with such life and had unique personalities, but I particularly loved the spirits, Mask, Dai and Miki, who Mina meets after arriving in the Sea God’s city. These three seem to know Mina, and go out of their way to help her, even when it means they must risk their own safety. That is a thread that runs throughout the story, people doing things not because they have to, but because they want to help someone else, whether that person is a family member or a friend. In the realm of the gods Mina meets Shin, who may or may not be an ally. He is however undoubtedly connected with her, and they must work together if they’re to help the sea God, though they have different motivations for doing so. They have a complicated relationship which develops over the weeks Mina is in the city and ultimately forces Mina to make further difficult choices. Mina must go on a journey. Partly because she is somewhere new and she has to discover the mysteries of this place, but also to understand why the Sea God sleeps and what she can do to help him which seems to be the only way she will be able to help all of the people she loves. Through Mina we discover a world where spirits walk and gods fight to hold power. In many ways, it’s a reflection of our own world. I loved the blending of folklore and myth with new characters. I didn’t know the myth this book is based on, but it really doesn’t matter. Readers who are unfamiliar with it can still enjoy it very much and the original story is woven throughout, often appearing in clever ways. I was a bit unsure if this book would involve a Mina, sea God, and Shin love triangle. But considering the Sea God spends much of the book asleep this wasn’t really possible and I’m very happy about that. Even though there was an opportunity for it to head that way, it was very clear that rather than being about love for two men or Gods or whoever, this was a choice Mina had to make about what she was willing to sacrifice for the love of her family. The way this potential plot was resolved really brought me to tears and I don’t think there was a better way the author could have handled it. Perhaps I don’t have the words to express the beauty in this book. I hope that others will read it and love it as I have. This is a story about love, family, sacrifice, self-discovery, and making the hard choices. I highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, wow, wow! This book made me want to go and jump into the sea to float down to the spirit realm so I can experience it with my own eyes as my imagination painted some amazing pictures whilst reading Oh’s incredible words. The girl who fell beneath the sea is a retelling of a classic Korean folktale ‘The Tale of Shim Cheong,’. Storms have wreaked havoc on Mina’s homelands and the people believe that the Seagod (who was once their protector) is angry at them and to appease him a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to become his bride in the hope that he will left the curse he has set upon the lands. Only a true bride can lift the curse and this year Shim Cheong has been chosen to be sacrificed who happens to be Mina’s older brothers girlfriend. To protect her brother, Mina jumps into the sea instead of Cheong. In the spirit realm she enters palaces, meets new people, flights against giant snakes, meets her ancestors and much more. Can she save her world? This book blew me away. The writing is outstanding and I instantly liked all the characters. My imagination ran wild with every description of an outfit or a forest. It sounded so beautiful even when storms raged beneath the surface. I’m not gonna say much more other than add this to your wishlist when it’s released next month.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing this eARC. Ohhh how should I describe my feelings? I'm completely in love with this book. It's the story of Mina, who sacrifices herself and becomes the Sea Gods bride in order to save him from his curse. Because of her sacrifice, she lands in a world full of gods, mystical beings and the dead. With the help of Lord Shin, she wants to free the Sea God from his curse and save her homeland. But not everybody in the realm of gods wants the Sea God to return and they try to get rid of Mina. This is a beautiful tale about family (found and bound by blood), fate, loss and friendship. I loved the slow pacing. You get time to get to know the characters. I also loved the stories Mina retold in the book and the resurfaced memories of her family. Another thing I adored was the bond she started to form with the unlikely characters, especially with Shin. I really love his character (and Mina's). And maybe you'll even shed a tear or two. Because this tale is just breathtaking.

Was this review helpful?

The beautiful cover made me want to read this book and I’m so glad I did. Reading this felt like reading an amazing fairytale. It was incredible! I feel like I’ve never read a book like this before. The setting was incredible, and following Mina as she went on her journey was amazing. I enjoyed all of the characters and the relationships as well. I can't wait to own a physical copy of this!

Was this review helpful?

Oh, what a beautiful book this was. I was captivated from the very beginning. I'd never read any of Axie Oh's work before but this one intrigued me as I love books that are steeped in mythology and this did not disappoint with all it's nods to Korean folklore. The characters were all wonderful and I particularly liked Mina, our main protagonist. However, what really set this book apart was the wonderful setting, vivid descriptions and the beautiful spirit world that was created. Also, I cannot wait to own a physical copy of this book as the artwork is simply stunning. Thank you netgalley and hodder for the eArc.

Was this review helpful?

I want to start by thanking Hodder & Soughton, Netgalley and Axie Oh for giving me an ARC of this title to review. I was incredibly excited as soon as I heard about this book, loving anything to do with oriental folklore and myth and being a big fan of Miyazaki’s work, especially Spirited Away which this book has been likened to. A few reviews I have seen have said the characters seem lacking but personally I didn’t feel that way at all. I admit a few secondary characters I would have liked to know more about, have them take centre stage but the book would have been too long and after all this is a retelling of a Korean myth so it couldn’t deviate too far besides I can live in hope that Oh maybe brings back a few characters in another book! A girl can dream! So we know this is retelling of a Korean legend with a feminist twist but what exactly can you expect? Well for a start off you can expect action, intrigue, rich folklore and a touch of romance. I have to say the latter I was not sure I would enjoy but I actually became a little too invested! We follow Mina whose homeland has been ravaged by deadly storms for generations. The people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them to despair and death. Believing nothing else could work they try to appease him by sending a maiden into the sea in hopes that his ‘true bride’ will be found and chosen, and the cycle of destruction will end. So far it never has. This year the fate falls to Shim Cheong – the most beautiful girl in the village and Mina’s brother’s beloved. Surely, she must be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is due to be sacrificed, Mina’s brother follows her, despite knowing only death will await for daring to interfere. Only her brother wasn’t the only one breaking the rules and to save her brother Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead. Finding herself in the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina finds the Sea God, but he is trapped in an enchanted sleep. Determined to finally end the cycle and with a growing group of rag-tag demons, gods and spirits as well as a mysterious young man Mina sets out to wake the Sea God. But a human cannot live long in the land of the spirits and some will do anything to keep the Sea God from awakening. Obviously since this is an ARC I won’t spoil the plot much further but I will say that for a short while I was worried for a somewhat bittersweet ending, thankfully it wasn’t fully the case and that the last chapter did really get to me. It was so beautiful and yet so simple. The perfect closure to this wonderful retelling that didn’t lose any of the strength or will of the protagonist as can sometimes be the case in tales that end somewhat happily ever after. The characters are all memorable and as I said above while I would like a bit more flesh added to some of the secondary ones but this is only one book and you can’t expect that. The world building itself was quick but well thought out and beautifully brought to life. We are quite literally thrown into the Spirit Realm with Mina and we learn about the world along with her which was refreshing and something I really enjoyed within the book. Mina herself was a bit of a dream protagonist particularly for a YA book. I do love YA but sometimes the protagonists can be a bit too perfect or seem to be. Mina was different. She is scared, she cries, she feels confused and concerned but through it all she remains determined. For the first time in a long time I actually ended up liking Mina within the first few pages. All in all this book is a wonderful Fantasy, one that I will definitely re-read and recommend to my fellow YA and Fantasy lovers and those who love re-tellings of legends and myths. I can definitely see why some would liken this in it’s enchanting style to Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and I think it does actually deserve that comment but it also deserves to be seen as its own wonderful and magical tale of a girl who fell beneath the sea.

Was this review helpful?

A captivating plot set in a richly detailed fantasy world with a brilliantly determined protagonist- what’s not to love!

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book so much!!! From the very first page it jumps right into this magical story. The world Axie Oh created was beautiful and lush, and I couldn’t stop reading! Mina was such a great main character, even from the very beginning she shows her true colors! She was brave, selfless, loyal, smart and caring. She did everything she could to save her family and her people, even at the risk of her own life and happiness. The other characters were great as well…Shin, Namgi, Kirin, Nari, Mask, sweet Dai & Mikki will all have a special place in my heart! This story was so well written, I honestly was sad when it ended! When you come across a magical, beautiful world like this..it is often hard to leave! I would love more books to take place in this incredible world..If Axie Oh should decide to write more, I will 100% read them!

Was this review helpful?

A big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book, which was one of my most anticipated releases, not only because of this gorgeous cover but also because I was excited to read this Korean fairytale that sounds and indeed IS magical. I have to say that I adored ALL of the characters and realised how well written they all are(this doesn’t happen often in books I’ve read). The main character was very relatable and I loved following her journey and the decisions she made. She has clearly gone through a lot and cares about her family and her people and I loved how she tried to do her best no matter what. Shin, Namgi and Kirin were also very likeable and I found myself simping over every single one of them the whole time. In addition other side characters such as the Mask and other members of the MC’s family were a nice insertion to the story. The world and the ‘magic system’ was incredible, and I loved the author’s writing and descriptions of the place or specific scenes that made the reading experience magical. As a standalone, the book was fast paced, with every chapter ending in a cliffhanger and making me want to read more ( I literally finished the book in two sittings). I didn’t exactly guess the plot twist but I had some similar ideas and so it was still enjoyable. Finally there is a bit of romance in this book, which was the cutest and most adorable thing and it also made me cry. The whole ending itself was emotional, but Mina’s and Shin’s story made everything even more touching and beautiful. I would recommend this book for everyone as it is a very quick read but at the same time magical and emotional. This book also reminded me of the “Six Crimson Cranes”, so if you liked that book I believe that you will love this one too.

Was this review helpful?

A massive thank you to Netgalley for breaking my heart by providing me with an advanced copy of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh! The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is the story of a girl who's country is plagued by constant storms and weather anomalies, all of which are attributed to an irate Sea God. The people believe that the only way to appease this god is by sacrificing a girl each year to be the bride to this god. They believe that once the one true bride is sacrificed these storms will stop. The story starts off with the main character, Mina, trying to find and follow her brother on one of these sacrificial nights. A few things don't go as planned and Mina ends up in the ocean and is taken as the intended bride. But when she wakes up in the spirit realm things are very different than what was believed. Although she was not the one that was meant to be sacrificed she still thinks she might have a way of fixing things for the human world - to bring back order. This book was devoured in two days (it would have been one sitting if I did not have to work as well!). I've always loved Korean culture, but this book was the biggest warm embrace of a YA fantasy book that exists. If you love historical K-dramas, Ghibli or books like Julie Kagawa's Shadow of the Fox, then this is definitely the book for you. The characters are amazing and the small truths that are revealed in the last half are so heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time that I am not lying when I say I cried my eyes out. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for their next Asian inspired fantasy read. It truly is a masterpiece!

Was this review helpful?

Firstly, thank you Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read this via NetGalley (all opinions are my own). Secondly, wow! This book was an absolute pleasure to read. It is written beautifully and flows so well. As a person who can usually guess the ending, I did not guess the ending of this book and I’m so glad I didn’t. It was a satisfying twist and ending. Highly recommend!

Was this review helpful?

This story and author blew me away with a magical world and a mani character who won my heart. A refreshing read with great world building, fairytales and cultural ties. A human girl living in a world of the spirits , imugi, gods and dragons. Such an interesting tangled world. I had to keep reading to find out what happens to the MC Mina. The story as it plays out is full of intrigue, twists and turns. Giant forests, gods, priestesses and the red string of fate. Mina is working to appease the sea god and save her people. A beautiful book with lessons on life, family, love and faith. I’d recommend this to people who enjoy a more fairytale style of story. A beautiful heartfelt message intertwined through the sorry of family and fate. Excited to read more form this author. A big thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughten for sharing with me the e-ARC.

Was this review helpful?

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh is a beautifully written novel with characters that are impossible not to fall in love with. I was hooked from the very first chapter and not only because of the fast-paced action but also Axie Oh's exquisite writing that made for a wonderfully whimsical reading experience. I loved this book so much that I immediately started reading XOXO which is another one of her novels.

Was this review helpful?

Wow! A fantastical, young adult read to stir the imagination and captivate your mind. This was so cinematic I’ll be surprised if it’s not a film in the next couple of years. I absolutely loved it and fell in love with the mysterious world. This is oddly enough the second book I’ve read this year in which young women are thrown into the sea (The Seawomen) but while both amazing the two are completely different. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.

Was this review helpful?

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea was an absolutely magical read. On the surface (pardon the pun), it is a story about a brave girl who takes the place of her brother's beloved in sacrificing herself to appease an ancient Sea God. But this novel delved into so much more than this. It is a story about (found) family and faith. The protagonist, Mina, is a very strong character and her unwavering faith in being able to change things around her and her belief that she is able to forge her own destiny brought me to tears a few times during this read. We are thrown into the action right in the first chapter, where Mina is already jumping into the ocean. And from there on, the story's pace doesn't let up. What Axie Oh has crafted in a really masterful way is a tale that is both lyrical and yet moving at a break-neck-speed. The prose is lush and beautiful, especially when describing food and nature (sky fish?! hell yeah!). But the writing is concise as well and never strays too much from the red ribbon that is woven through the story. A standout in this novel were all the likable and diverse side characters. I came to care for all of them, but especially the chaos trio that is Mask, Dai and Miki. All in all I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves Hayao Miyazaki films and/or Sarah J. Maas-esque YA fantasy.. Did I already mention that this book also has an epic romance going for it as well? Because it absolutely does. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea kept me up reading well into the night because I did not want to put it down And side note: the cover is so stunning! I can't wait to add this to my physical shelves when it is released. (Thank you to NetGalley, Axie Oh and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an eARC for this book in exchange for my honest feedback. All opinions in this review are my own.)

Was this review helpful?

Feminist retelling of the Korean myth of Shim Cheong? YES PLEASE. Mina’s home has been devastated by deadly storms for years and the town believes that it’s down to the Sea God having cursed them, so now every year a girl is chosen to be thrown into the sea with high hopes of being his true bride that will end the years of suffering and devastation. When the next girl is chosen is happens to be Mina’s brother’s girlfriend and he plans to interrupt the ceremony so that he doesn’t lose her, in order to save her brother and his lover, Mina sacrifices herself and takes her place as the chosen bride. After being taken to the spirit realm Mina discovers that the Sea God is actually trapped in an enchanted sleep and cannot be woken up. Mina enlists the help from a group of gods, spirits and demons to wake up the Sea God and put an end to the deadly storms. So will Mina be able to wake the Sea God and put a stop to the storms still cursing her home? You’ll have to read this wonderful book to find that out for yourself! Trust me, you won’t regret picking this book up. I loved every second of this beautiful book, Axie Oh really has such a stunning way with words and the story just flew off the page and into my mind the second I started reading. I fell in love with Mina very quickly, she’s such a sweet, strong, compassionate heroine. I mean she sacrificed herself to save her brother’s lover (and him from doing anything stupid), so beautifully selfless. This story is full of friendship, love, compassion and strong powerful characters who will melt your heart into a gooey mess. I love this book, I can’t wait to re-read it when my hardback is here. Thank you so so much to @readeatretreat @hodderscape for sending me a copy.

Was this review helpful?

We really enjoyed this book. It is good to find a story about a strong female lead. An adaptation of an old folk tale but beautifully and sensitively done. Good moral tale, a delight with a feel good vibe.

Was this review helpful?

Real rating: 4.5 stars Inspired by the classic Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong", Axie Oh's The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an exciting and enticing story about a girl who sacrifices herself to be the Sea God's bride in order to protect her family and save her people. Axie Oh's brilliant, gorgeous writing style deftly weaves into this story the importance of stories, love, and belief. It will keep you glued to the pages from the very beginning and it won't disappoint! I found Mina to be a fantastic main character, not only strong and selfless but also almost entirely unpredictable which made this book even more exciting. Although we only glimpse a bit from the secondary characters, like Namgi and Kirin, I loved their little interactions and would have loved to see more from them! The romance subplot felt a bit rushed, but it was a love born of a sense of duty and companionship between these characters and it was lovely! Overall, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a fantastic book and I recommend it with all my heart.

Was this review helpful?

I have a soft spot for anything that reads like a fairy tale, so I absolutely loved this. And I also cried by eyes out because it is beautifully written. Every year for the last 100 years, a girl has been sacrificed to the sea in order to appease the Sea God and stop the deadly storms that have been ravaging the land for a century. This year is Shim Cheong's turn to be sacrificed, but Mina takes her place and is swept away to the realm of spirits. There, she finds the Sea God in an enchanted sleep and, in her quest to wake him and save her people, she finds unexpected allies in spirits, beasts of myth and even gods. This story is about fate and about creating your own; it's about myth and legend; it's about family bonds and making family out of friends. It's just beautiful in every way. The only thing I missed was seeing more of Mina and the rest of the crew forming those found family bonds. We just sort of skipped to them being close instead of the actual development of relationships. I understand part of the reason is because it's a stand-alone and the space is limited, but I still wanted more of the enemies to lovers, i think i misjudged you and might actually like you now instead of going from 0 to 100 in a few chapters.

Was this review helpful?

If you love mythology retellings and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, you might want to give this book a try. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a retelling of the Korean Folklore, The Tale of Shim Cheong. The story follows Mina, whose village has been ravaged by deadly storms and wars waged over years. Her people believe that their protector, the Sea God, has cursed them and believe that in order to appease him, they have to sacrifice a beautiful maiden each year in hopes that one of them will be his true bride and end their suffering. The story then follows Mina on her journey in the Spirit Realm after she sacrifices herself to save her brother and his beloved. The twist is that as a human, she is vulnerable and cannot live long in the land of spirits… can she lift the curse before her time is up and can she fight against those who wants to prevent the Sea God from awakening? This is an enthralling, well-paced read and I loved how folklore stories were being weaved in to enhance the storytelling. Mina is a strong, compassionate protagonist who is protective of her family and the people around her. Shin had a great arc and I thought at how his story was well fleshed out and that it was not what I was expecting at all (must be all the Kdramas I’ve been watching). The side characters were also well developed and they always had me smiling. For those who love the Fated Mates and Found Family trope, this book will definitely warm your heart. If you love Kdramas, it gives me The Legend Of The Blue Sea mixed with The Bride Of Habaek vibes but with a completely different storyline. This book will be released on 22 February and the covers are extremely gorgeous. I struggled picking between the 2 but I’ve ordered the US version. A huge thank you to @axieoh , @hodderscape and NetGalley for this eArc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The girl who fell beneath the sea was one of my most anticipated releases for 2022, and I can tell you that it did not disappoint at all. The story itself is beautiful, well-paced, well-written and keeps you thoroughly captivated throughout. I loved how Mina, the main character, was not only strong but selfless. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an eARC of this amazing beautiful story.

Was this review helpful?

I loved the writing style of XOXO by Axie Oh so when i heard about this book i knew i would love to read it!! Lets just say it did not dissapoint at all. I love Feminist retellings and i'm also learning korean currently so this whole book was so interesting to me. This story was full of friendship, love, compassion and strong powerful characters that melted my heart. I loved this book and i plan to re read it once its released!

Was this review helpful?

Beneath the sea, the dragon sleeps What is he dreaming of? Beneath the sea, the dragon sleeps When will he wake? On a dragons pearl, your wish will leap On a dragons pearl, your wish will leap 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A beautiful and captivating story of love and family , and how much we are willing to sacrifice for those we love the most. "Nothing extraordinary is ever done out of reason or logic, but because it is the only way for your soul to breath" Have you ever had a book suprise you completely? Have you gone into a book expecting one thing , only to find something so different than you thought you would get? Well this book was that for me 🤷‍♀️ . The cover caught my eye because it is just beautiful, and the blurb sounded interesting enough to make me want to read it! But what I didn't expect was to be absolutely mesmerised by this beautiful and exquisite story. Axie Oh's writing is nothing short of perfection, from the very beginning her words consumed me and her attention to every detail made the story come alive, to say I am blown away is an understatement! Such an amazing world that you can't help but get lost in and characters that will steal your heart over and over again, I never wanted it to end. The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea has just secured its place on my all time favourites list and I highly recommend everyone to read this. "Wait for me, where the land meets the sea" 💖

Was this review helpful?

This book was so magical and beautifully written. I fell completely in love with the world and the descriptions really helped it come to life. Loved Shin and of course our main character who was determined that she could always do the right thing, even if she was told otherwise or that it wouldn't work.

Was this review helpful?

A very beautiful storey, woven with proverbs and poetry and conveying a tale... not only from the past, but also relevant to our time. A storey of a strong will combined with a fiery heart. Not for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Knowing that taking a course to help others will deprive you of your personal joy, but nevertheless doing it anyhow. And recognising that doing what's right can sometimes be the same as following your heart. Do not miss this fable-like interpretation on a Korean myth, which is sure to resonate deeply with readers!

Was this review helpful?

FIRST 5 star read of the year! Just how amazing is this book! When I started this The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, I didn't expect to fall in love with it so irrevocably, for this book to tangle itself into the threads of my soul, and for it to leave me so comfortably loved at the end of it. There are lots of books that own my heart, but very few that rest in my soul and Axie Oh's book is the first one that didn't tear me apart to claim its place but it seeped through my skin, into my bones and into everything that I am. After that proclamation of my undying love for The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, you must be curious about what it is about. It's about familial love so intense that not sacrificing for them leaves a void in you, about gods whose hearts are broken, boys who want to be more than what they are told to be, family who'll watch over you, prayers that are answered and prayers that are not. Above all, it's about a girl who was willing to risk it all for a chance to save her family. Axie Oh writes like that was all she was born to do. Her writing is suggestive instead of persuasive, letting your imagination fill in the gaps, and Axie Oh really trusts her readers. The novel had the quality of a dreamy fairytale that became folklore. Imagine falling through the sea with Swift's Invisible String playing in the background, with your brother fading as you disappear beneath the surface. I felt that I was there with our protagonist, Mina, every step of the way. This book is a portal to the spirit realm and I won't hear anyone say otherwise. The characters were incredible! I would die for Kirin and Namgi right now. And the romance that could be in a K Drama! It's SO WELL DONE. All the yearning, heartbreak, pain, and longing looks that made me sing 'the invisible string, tying you to meeeeeeeeeeeeee'. I normally hate the soulmate trope but I hadn't read this book then. Please preorder this absolute stunner of a novel if you haven't already! Thank you Netgalley and Hoddder books for the earc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

THIS WAS SO BEAUTIFUL, magical, wonderful and I loved this so much! Please pick this up immediately ❤️Thank you to Netgalley for this eARC!

Was this review helpful?

I am not familiar with the original story of Shim Cheong, but if it is anything like this book, it must be beautiful. I really liked the characters and enjoyed the world building (if that’s what you call it in case of a myth?) very much. As far as I have understood it, in the original myth Shim Cheong is offered to the Sea God as a bride - but in this retelling, Mina sacrifices herself as her brother Joon is in love with Cheong. In the Spirit Realm, Mina finds the Sea God asleep, and the ribbon that ties their souls together is separated. Being able to live in the Spirit Realm among the gods and spirits for only a short amount of time, Mina and her new-found friends - including one mysterious lord - need to quickly find a way to wake the Sea God and bring peace to both realms. But not everyone is on their side… I absolutely loved the premise of the story, and I think my favourite part about the book is all the different kinds of love it explores. It starts right off with Mina sacrificing herself for her brother’s happiness, and later putting the fate of her people before her own even as she falls in love with Shin. She worships the gods and is kind to the Sea God despite the suffering he causes in the mortal world. And then there is also the friendship between Shin and his friends, and the love between the seemingly mismatched group of spirits that become Mina’s friends. Because I enjoyed that aspect of the story so much, I was a bit disappointed by how quick especially the romance was developed. I would have so loved to get to know the characters more. However, the book is quite fast-paced as Mina is running out of time fighting of those Spirit Realm dwellers that do not want the Sea God to awake. It was a very quick read and I didn’t see some of the plot twists coming. Another thing that I loved about the book was the descriptive writing style and the imagery. The city in the Spirit Realm came alive on the pages and I felt extremely immersed into the story. It was just so beautiful! I only wish I had got more of that. I felt like sometimes I was missing some background information (mostly on Korean mythology itself, which is my own fault I guess) and I would have liked for the pacing to be a little bit slower so that I could have stayed in the story a little longer. But that’s also kind of a good thing, right? To sum things up, I really enjoyed this book a lot and would love to read any of the author’s other works in the future. 4.5/5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

A kind thank you to the publisher for the e-ARC. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is the lovely fairytale/folklore-like world I'd love to live in. A feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale "The Tale of Shim Cheong", The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a magical book that took my breath away. I usually don't like books that read like fairytales, but oh my, how much I adored The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea. Mina is a girl who loves her family deeply, so much that she puts herself at risk in order to secure her brother's happiness. She's clever and resourceful, and she never loses the essence of who she is even the most dire of situations. Axie Oh's characterization is the epitome of perfection. This was the first book I read from her, and her writing blew me away. The way she conveyed Mina's core and heart, Mina's mind really was masterful. I think that Mina is that ideal main character who does the right thing for the right reasons but is not a mindlessly righteous person, either. I loved that balance in her. And her worldview was like a fresh cooling breeze on a sunny day, especially considering how big of a contrast it was to the world--above and beneath the sea. The characters were so full of life--and broodiness in some cases. Not to give away any spoilers, but this book is so lovely, so mesmerizing that it's really hard to put into words. The characters were like beacons of light in the world beneath the sea, and they were all inherently good but with their own problems and traumas. Different personalities but connected to each other in a way that makes the phrase "ensemble cast" sound mediocre in comparison. Lord Shin, oh my, how I'd love to meet you and give you a big hug. Namgi, you were the soul of the book that pulled all my heartstrings. You also need a hug. In fact, you need many hugs. Kirin, I love how loyal you are, but please, take it easy a little. The worldbuilding was magical. It was masterfully told, never confusing, never overwhelming, just immersing us into its magic. It was captivating and enthralling. I felt like I was there, together with those beautiful characters. The plot twists were nice and well done, and even though I had an inkling about something, I wasn't sure where the author was going to take us, and I found myself wondering and getting even more enthralled by the possibilities. One thing that surprised me was how beautifully and emotionally the author weaved in the messages she wanted to convey. The power of believing in someone, of loving your family, of fighting for a better world, of being a girl in a world that is not easy to be a girl in, the power of transcending from what people think you are and what they expect of you, the power of finding your own rhythm in life; these themes were all there, and they really resonated with me. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is so beautiful that I don't know how to fully describe and convey that beauty. Enthralling. Captivating. Magical. Lovely. Beautiful. Mind-blowing. Are those words enough? I don't know, but they are definitely accurate. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an unforgettable story of what it means to be a woman fighting for her happiness, for her family, for her world, and of what it is that makes a home your home.

Was this review helpful?

This will be a slightly more scattered than normal review, as I'm having trouble being coherant over all the squeeing in my head right now. - I hadn't heard the Spirited Away comparisons before I started - but I started thinking them almost straight away - (I thought I was really clever and had spotted some amazing insight) - (but no literally everyone on goodreads had seen it too) - none of this is complaining that movie is AMAZING - Shin is literally Haku - look at those amazing covers - I can't decide which is better - I think it's whichever one I happen to be looking at at any given time - things did move a little fast towards the end - also not a complaint, just a noticing - also I cried like five times, so there's that - I didn't, but should have, guessed who Mask, Dai and Miki were - I love this version of the afterlife - can I go there eventually please? - The Spirited Away vibes are strongest in the first half - found family is best family and Shin's found family are best found family - The Sea God was great in an unexpected way - descriptions are amazing, when can we see this on screen? - I want more of this world please - I started reading this before bed, planning to read enough to get a taste - yeah that didn't work so good - bed was slightly delayed that night - it's quite a quick read - but so detailed - I love it and want more - Gotta go watch Spirited Away now - If you haven't seen it you should - but read the book first, don't delay - here is my very favourite quote which I picked with great difficulty because there were so many options: Nothing extraordinary is ever done out of reason or logic, but because it’s the only way for your soul to breathe. - Also I really want to read the original folktale now - I don't know enough Eastern mythology really, I should correct that - Read this book - I really think you'll like it.

Was this review helpful?

This book was everything I wanted it to be when I saw it. A magical retelling of a Korean folklore that throws you (hah) into the spirit realm under the sea. There's romance, found-family, and generally a storyline that just carries you away from page one. Its a book about family, loyalty, falling in love, and growing up. I loved every second and I didn't want it to finish, and I loved Mina from the start. It's one of those books where I have so much to say but can't without giving something away, and I don't want to spoil a second of it. I'll be posting my review on Instagram closer to the publication date!

Was this review helpful?

Oh my gosh what an exciting read! Honestly just looked at the cover, read the title and thought yep, I’m gonna love that, that book is completely for me And it was woo! I loved it. I will say it took me a wee bit to get into it, I wasn’t 100% on what was going on at the start but honestly just give it time and you will love it too! Mina is such an interesting character and you can see her almost grow up and learn. And there was plenty of emotion as always with me lol, but I did cry a few times - but not really sad tears, just emotional? And I basically couldn’t guess anything that was going to happen! I was super surprised by a big a couple of big reveals and looking back I feel so stupid as it all makes so much sense! There’s also a wee bit of romance in there teehee, I of course would’ve happily taken more romance but I can’t have everything. And I was completely shipping two other characters and it just didn’t happen. Or did it and we just don’t get to find out but can assume?? Oh well still fabulous I had no expectations of what this would be going in and it’s so different and such an incredible story that’s been brilliantly written! Definitely one to pick up!

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book. Full of gods and goddesses. Fantasy and magic. It deals with loss, but in a beautiful way. One of the better YA novels I have read of late.

Was this review helpful?

“Nothing extraordinary is ever done out of reason or logic, but because it’s the only way for your soul to breathe.” I’m going to preface this by saying this book is slow. It’s a good slow, a slow I loved, but if you’re in the mood for a fast read, this isn’t it. It was probably a 4* read for the first 3/4, and the last 1/4 made it a 5* for me. I loved the Mira, Shin and co., their development, their relationships, the journeys that they go on to discover who they are, and what they want. I adored the occasional reminders of where the story took place - I’d forget that they were beneath the sea, and then Axie Oh would throw in a detail like Mina laying on her back and seeing a whale pass overhead and I would remember how fantastical it was all over again. The way all the strands came together at the end was very satisfying, and really made the book for me. I would definitely recommend, if you’re someone who enjoys a book with a slower pace. I do feel it needs a TW for child loss, although I also feel it was handled in a loving and sensitive way - the idea that their ancestors are watching over them, and that the love that is felt for them travels with them when they pass.

Was this review helpful?

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, in a strange way, reminded me of Six Crimson Cranes. Those two books are very different plot-wise and by writing styles, but what sort of really clicked for me was the voice of the protagonist. Both of the protagonist in the stories are very young, around 15 or 16, and they carry a sort of hopeful, naive world view. They still have their rose coloured glasses on, but they are also sk determined and resilient and I adored it. "Be angry at the goddess, Mina. But never"- she grabs my trembling shoulders- "never lose your faith in her." There were many things that I loved about this book- the writing especially. It was so beautiful and whimsical and made me want to appreciate every sentence. "And what would the sea god's bride once she's found him?" "She would show him her heart." Another great thing was the world, which was so vibrant and so gorgeous and so well-done. I could easily see it in my head. It was also so rich with lore, stories, gods, goddesses and ancient magic. Truly captivating, a most unique world than I had ever read about. If you have read any book inspired by mythology then you would find it even more interesting! "You have to believe in something to be the God of it." I enjoyed it all the more because it's inspired by Chinese mythology, and I had never read like that before. I'm so glad that these stories are being brought to the forefront now. The lore is rich and and story eloquent in the way that it slowly unfolds. There are lots of little a folk tales and stories from the Chinese culture sprinkled in the book and they are a delight. "Don't chase fate, Mina. Let fate chase you." The protagonist, Mina, is someone so strong and intrinsically good and kind hearted; and even though I love morally grey characters I admired her strength and goodness so much. She is the kind of person who keeps everyone together and is brave. But most importantly, she will do anything to makes things right. To save her brother and his life. To save her people from the crisis they are in. Then there is our another main character, who's a grumpy and mysterious Gid named Shin who is supposed to protect the Sea God, and is a very important side character. Through some unexpected turn of events, he gets roles into helping Mina on her quest. And true to the grumpy+sunshine trope, even though he is very moody and rigid and a little reluctant, he is a sweetheart. We follow much of the story alongside him and Mina and their other mystical creature friends, Kirin and Namgi. All of them just a very entertaining and heart-warming bunch as they do everything they can to help Mina on her mission to revive the Sea God and help her land. "Only you could change your mind from a compliment to an insult halfway through." But of course things are not gonna be that easy. There are strange accidents that happen, a few meetings with Goddesses that go wrong and only one month to put things back in order, something that hasn't been managed since generations, because after that Mina might be stuck in the Spirit Realm forever. The place is a little on the slower slide, although not boring in anyway, personally. It also ends in the most satisfying way, with just right plot twists and emotions.

Was this review helpful?

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axis Oh is a beautiful retelling of the Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong” and was an absolutely perfect choice for a book that will provide you with joy, tears and an utterly gorgeous Studio Ghibli-esque narrative. This is the story of Mina, the girl who threw herself into the sea instead of the intended Shim Cheong. Shim Cheong was believed to be the “true bride” of the Sea God, used in an attempt to stop suffering via sacrifice, but was also the beloved partner of Joon, Mina’s brother. When Mina throws herself into the sea instead, she is whisked away to the Spirit Realm filled with gods and spirits. A human cannot last long here and there are many obstacles for Mina to overcome as she learns the truth of these sacrifices and tries to wake the Sea God. This novel is genuinely spectacular. The way that Axie Oh has expanded upon the Korean legend and shown Mina to be an amazing protagonist that is easily accessible and filled with passion, caring for family and her people, is truly unique. Mina really goes on a journey and the way that Axie Oh easily describes the trial of self-discovery against fate lured me right in. Other characters were described elegantly and were simply recognisable and different from others. These characters were really the crux of the story and Axie Oh juggled many characters really well. The world-building was also strong here. We are thrown into a world of spirits and demons but also a fantastical place that has political assassinations and wishes masquerading as paper boats. I was interested in the Spirit Realm enough with each description but it went on to show that it is not much unlike our own world. The blend of myth and folklore was brought to us with a sense of enjoyable and clever familiarity that showed it is possible to portray a story built on love, hope and family that is so brilliantly wrapped up at the end but deserves another read through to truly appreciate. Axie Oh kept me interested and invested right until the very end. With each revelation and choice that was made I was keen to turn the page and find out what happened next. This was a truly heart-warming novel that expressed beauty through hard choices. This has been one of my favourites of the year so far.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: