SKIN OF THE SEA by Natasha Bowen

An unforgettable fantasy debut inspired by West African mythology, this is Children of Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid, in which a mermaid takes on the gods themselves.

A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable–she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But something is amiss. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.


Title : Skin of the Sea
Author : Natasha Bowen
Format : Physical ARC
Page Count : 323
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Penguin
Release Date : November 4, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
West African fantasy wow
Slavery and fighting back
Lush cover

I’m blown away by the cover on this book, it is stunning and provides such a fantastic visual for Simi the main character. I really bought into this story initially, Simi being a mermaid-esque being but able to transform to human on land. Her job was to collect the souls of those dying at sea, particularly slaves killed on the boats taking them away from their native shores.

I really loved the early elements of the folk lore& gods but it did get more complicated and a bit harder to follow at times. It wasn’t a long book but the second half felt a little longer than it should have to me. Kola, the human alongside Simi had a joint quest to fulfill with Simi and that premise for the story was interesting but again with a rather complex set of gods and magical elements to follow.

I liked this book but sadly I didn’t love it like I thought I might. I’d definitely read this author again however and I really appreciated the slavery perspective and generally the African fantasy context.

Please check out some black reviewers on this book. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC through netgalley.

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