I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on drawing of girl
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: Standalone


Book cover for THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH THE SEA: title in white on blue graphic of a city under the sea

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… 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This bite-sized book follows a girl who sacrifices herself for her brother and village, and finds herself in a magical realm full of spirits and mythical creatures and gods. The magical realm is the godly realm, but it also has some overlap with the afterlife, which was a really fun dynamic. (I think I saw somewhere that it’s a retelling, but I can’t seem to find confirmation of that.)

There are factions at play, different gods seeking power – and now Mina is a route for them to gain it. Mostly by trying to killing her. The pieces of the puzzle are scattered around, so if Mina can just catch her breath, then she can put them altogether. Of course, no one is that considerate, so Mina has to try to work out what’s happened while also dodging assassins, dealing with kind but morose lords, and not getting tripped up by ambitious goddesses.

It is a book that explores anger and love towards deities, how badly faith can be shaken when things go wrong. How can disasters be allowed to happen and how do we respond to these gods? I loved some of the outbursts where this confliction of emotions tumbled out, the anger and frustration, but also disappointment and yet a lingering sense of awe/respect.

The pacing is great – I raced through it – but there were a few little things that didn’t feel well explained (and given the word count is low, there was space for a few extra clarifying lines to be added.) For example, I’m not sure the storms were ever actually explained – once the secondary mystery/plot with the Sea God was resolved, the storms stopped. The resolution of that plot thread undermined the original guess Mina had for why the storms had started, and then didn’t offer an alternative explanation. It felt a little like it had been forgotten in favour for another goal at the end (get Mina and the others homes.)

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