Book Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Good morning! I’m sharing with you today a review of a really beautiful book by an author who I’m starting to adore! Axie Oh is incredible and I’m so excited to share with you this review! If you haven’t read it already, I’ve reviewed another one of her books XOXO so make sure to check that out too! As for this one, I was absolutely drawn in by that stunning cover, but the beautiful prose matched the cover so perfectly I couldn’t look away. I absolutely loved this retelling of the tale of Shim Cheong and I hope you do too! Check it out.

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Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Publication date: February 22, 2022
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling

A magically beautiful and feminist retelling of the tale of Shim Cheong

At a glance: In Mina’s village, everyone believes that the Sea God has cursed them and the only way to appease him is to offer to the sea a bride, the most beautiful girl in the village, Mina’s brother’s beloved, Shim Cheong. In a desperate attempt to save her brother, Mina takes Shim Cheong’s place as the Sea God’s bride.

  • 🍃 Easy Reading
  • 💪 Feminist
  • 🎶 Lyrical Prose
  • 🕯️ Slow Burn

Read this if… you love beautiful prose, reimaginings of classic folktales, or a strong female protagonist who chooses her own destiny.

Diversity Representation: Korean-American author, Korean folklore, Korean protagonists

Content Warnings: Death, grief

Book Review

Beautiful, luscious, engulfing, stunning, pretty, enchanting, feminist

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is another stunning book that has beautiful prose to match the gorgeous cover. I love the way Axie Oh reimagined the story of Shim Cheong. I found myself so eager to find out what happened and I was so invested in Mina’s story that I read it way too quickly and had to go back to really see how all the pieces fit so perfectly together in the end. This story truly comes together in the end in way more ways than I anticipated and it made the story come alive so much more. I can’t wait for more people to read The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea because this story is full of adventure, love, family, sacrifice and strength, and it is wonderful.

Mina lives in a village that has been ravaged by deadly storms for generations leading the people to believe that the Sea God, their once protector, has cursed them. Every year to appease him, Mina’s village picks a beautiful maiden to throw into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s Bride in hopes that he will select a “true bride” and it will end the suffering. Everyone believes Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village and Mina’s brother’s beloved, will break the curse. On the day of Shim Cheong’s sacrifice, in desperate attempt to save her brother, Mina takes Shim Cheong’s place and falls beneath the sea to become the bride of the Sea God.

Axie Oh creates a beautifully strong character in Mina. I loved every minute of her journey. I just adored the way that Mina chooses her own fate to save the ones that she loves. This story is so heartwarming to me in the way that Axie Oh turned a classic tale about sacrificing girls to a god into a story of a strong female character that, by choice, sacrifices herself to save the ones she loves and constantly chooses her fate over and over along the way. Readers will delight in the way that Mina stands strong in her decision to do everything she can to save the people of her village even when it would be so easy to choose the other path, even when others try to convince her to save herself. Mina stands strong in her convictions and turns the story of Shim Cheong into a beautiful and worthy feminist reimagining.

One last thing that really brought this book to life for me were the beautiful aesthetics. I adored how much this felt like a Studio Ghibli film. The magic in the tiny details are nothing short of art. You can feel the magic of holding someone’s hand, the comfort of receiving help from people that you trust, the delight of seeing fish fly because the entire story takes place underwater. It all comes together in a luscious experience. The way that missing pieces all come together to be a part of something as big as the ocean itself is beautiful and will leave you walking away feeling satisfied and complete.

Summing it all up

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a luscious and beautiful experience with prose that perfectly matches its stunning cover. This book with sweep you off your feet and fall in love with Mina in this wonderfully feminist reimagining of the story of Shim Cheong.

*I received this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily*

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About the Author

Axie Oh is a first generation Korean American, born in NYC and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California – San Diego and holds an MFA from Lesley University in Writing for Young People. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her puppy, Toro.


Let’s chat!

🌊 Do you know the story of Shim Cheong?
🌊 What was the last book you read with beautiful prose?
🌊 Have you read any of Axie Oh’s other books?

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PS. Make sure to check out my review of Axie Oh’s other incredible book, XOXO!


Want More Diverse Book Recommendations?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with similar fairytale inspiration and beautiful prose (and stunning covers!):


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Wow The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea sounds beautiful!

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