by Axie Oh
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…
What I Liked:
-The Asian setting was refreshing to read and the setting details were fun. Though, I would have liked a little bit more detail.
-When Mina meets her ancestors. I realized everything right as it happened. I can’t say more because of spoilers, but I liked it.
-There was some fun character banter sprinkled throughout.
What I Struggled With:
-The story jumps right into the action, and I struggled to orientate myself in the story world and plot for the first couple of chapters. I don’t know if it was because I was listening to the audiobook, or if it was a me thing, but it took me a little bit to feel settled in the book.
-There isn’t per se a clear antagonist. While the goddess of moon and memory opposes Mina at times, she isn’t actively working against her like an antagonist would.
A unique Asian fantasy. While it didn’t blow me away, I’ll probably read a hard copy at some point and see if I enjoy the story more that way.
Cautions: two swear words; moderate violence; brief battle wound descriptions; light/moderate romance; three kisses *
*Because I was listening to the audiobook, I might have missed a caution