The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Don’t chase fate. Let fate chase you.

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 . . .

Photo by Emiliano Arano on

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a magical, mythical tale with endearing characters and dream-worthy worldbuilding. Oh’s writing is vivid and musical, encapturing the reader from the very first word and not letting them go until well after the last page is turned.

Mina is the perfect protagonist: not considered typically beautiful nor brave in her small village and certainly not one of those chosen to be the Sea God’s bride but, through Oh’s use of first person perspective, she takes us on an incredible adventure full of magic, gods, demons and spirits.

Mina’s kind, humble and selfless personality directly clashes with the Sea God’s melancholy as well as Shin’s mysterious nature and dubious loyalties but this makes their characters and relationships all the more complex. Mina’s stubborn nature really resonated with me and you know I love any novel with a healthy dose of humour and sarcasm, meaning I automatically loved the characters of Mask and Namgi.

But most of all? I loved the story! The descriptive prose, easy interactions within characters and slow reveal of the spirit world surrounding Mina creates an amazing YA fantasy novel with a sweet romance.

I have to admit, I spotted some of the plot twists coming and the romance itself did feel a little bit forced proximity trope-y to begin with but I simply didn’t care! This gorgeous novel is a page turner and one that I will definitely find myself reading over and over again.

Now all I need is a physical copy and if it has a map? Oh I’ll be in heaven!

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