The award for prettiest book cover of 2022 is definitely going to The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea. But it's going to be competing for my favourite fantasy book of the year too. I adored this novel and didn't want it to end.
Every year, a girl is sacrificed to the sea to appease the angry god beneath its waves. This year's bride is Shim Cheong, the girl Mina's brother is in love with. Unable to bare her brother's grief - or risk him doing something foolish to save her - Mina offers herself to the waves instead. Can she be the bride to finally end the curse on her kingdom and restore the gods' goodwill to humanity? Or does the red ribbon of fate have other plans for her?
The world building and mythology are superb. I loved the Sea God's kingdom, the court politics, the beasts. Everything about this novel was exquisitely done.
There was also a great cast of characters. Mina was a strong protagonist who was always willing to fight for what she believed to be right and put others above herself. I loved the spirits (who gave me Spirited Away vibes!) Mask, Dai and Miki, and Shin and his friends.
But at the heart of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a romance I was completely swept up in. It's just perfect and ticks all the boxes for what I want from a fantasy romance. There were also plenty of clever plot twists that kept me guessing and turning the page until late at night.
I was provided with an advanced copy for review on NetGalley.