Author: Natasha Bowen
Narrator: Yetide Badaki
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 6 minutes
To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean.
But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm.
With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.
Soul of the Deep is the sequel to the Skin of the Sea. This duology is filled with rich West African mythology. Like the first novel, there are some terms and descriptions where I had to google to learn more; however, this is because I wanted to learn more detail and you can still understand the story without doing this. Natasha Bowen’s writing continues to make it easy to imagine the entire world and the characters. The prose is rich, which aided my anticipation to read this sequel.
The story continues to follow Simidele (Simi), a former human who is now a mermaid. As a Mami Watu, she is tasked with retrieving the souls of those tossed overboard. After the events in the previous story, this novel picks up several months later. She is dealing with the aftermath from her last quest and now is set on a new one. While I enjoyed the idea behind her journey in this story, I do not think it is cohesive with the first novel. Simi has a lot of guilt and other feelings relating to the events in the first novel and I enjoyed her brave and caring character traits; however, I feel like she backtracked a little from some of the growth in the first novel only to grow again. It does show realistic progression with two steps forward and one back in its concept, but I think the execution was not quite there for it to connect with the reader.
The romance in this story is different than a lot of others of the genre as the romance between Simi and Kola is a slow burn, but there is a lot of unfinished business between them. With this type of open-ended ending, it does make sense on Simi’s side as her journey is not fully complete where she can settle with romance, but there is still a lot more that I wanted. The duology itself was well-written and I enjoyed the mythology. I liked the author’s story-telling style and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
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