Review: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Series: Skin of the Sea #1
Author: Natasha Bowen
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Released: November 9, 2021
Received: Own
Warnings: Slavery, kidnapping, drowning, attempted suicide

4 kitties

Skin of the Sea is the first in Natasha Bowen’s series of the same name. And let me just say, if you love mermaids and fantasy tales, then this is absolutely a book/series that you don’t want to miss out on! Plus, let’s be honest here: that cover is drop-dead gorgeous.

Long ago, Simi was human, but that was before the unthinkable happened. Now she serves the gods as a Mami Wata, otherwise known as a mermaid. She shepherd’s souls lost to the oceans, bringing them to her god to be blessed and sent home.

Yet Simi could never let go of her human memories – unable to let go of her human life. So when she sees a man fall into the water – still alive – she can’t bring herself to watch him drown. Instead, she saves him and sets off a chain of events that she was not prepared for.

“His quest for power is insidious and constant. From stealing the loved ones of kings and queens to using other orisas for their powers in the hopes of gaining more himself.”

Wow. I’ve read mermaid tales before, but nothing like Skin of the Sea. This was a beautiful story with so much depth, history, and power. I legitimately can’t wait to see what the sequel brings because I am blown away.

This retelling of mermaids (and The Little Mermaid in specific) takes black history into account, creating something that feels thoroughly real. It’s a heavier take, but it is also stronger for it.

My one complaint about this story would be the pacing. Simi’s story moves so quickly, pulling readers from one adventure/danger to the next, that we’re not given much time to appreciate her or any side characters. Not as much as we should, at any rate.

I adored many points about this read, including the orishas, history, and the hints of the threats to come. Honestly, it has been a couple of weeks since I read Skin of the Sea (I’m behind on reviewing), and it is STILL stuck in my head. So go read it! And then join me in the wait for the release of Soul of the Deep (Sep. 27).

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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