Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult


Rating: 5 out of 5.


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… 

My Take:

First of all, the cover art for this novel is absolutely beautiful. Most of the time when I pick a book by it’s cover, I’m disappointed. This time, however, the beautiful story matches the beautiful cover.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a book make my eyes water with happy tears, but this one managed to do the trick. I read it in a day. The protagonist, Mina, had me hooked from the very first lines—the action-packed scene in which she throws herself into the sea to save another girl. Her continuous drive to force her own fate was inspiring, and I can’t wait to share this story with others.

I teach 9th grade world literature, and I honestly think this would be the perfect text to add to my curriculum. It’s so rare that American schools teach Korean literature, that I find this myth to be quite necessary to my class.

If you need a good hero’s story with an ending that will give you all the feels, this is the book for you!

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