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SKIN OF THE SEA by Natasha Bowen Kirkus Star


From the Skin of the Sea series, volume 1

by Natasha Bowen

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-12094-1
Publisher: Random House

A mermaid seeks to appease the Supreme Creator after a rescue attempt goes awry.

Saved by the goddess Yemoja and turned into Mami Wata, a mermaid charged with granting safe passage to the souls of enslaved people who are thrown into the sea, Simidele, a teenager with brown skin and eyes and dark curls, still holds the memories of her family and life on land even though she is now one with the water and its creatures. When Simi instead saves the life of a boy who is thrown overboard, she unwittingly enters into dangerous intrigue. She must return to land, suffering shooting pain in the soles of her feet as she travels in her human form, to save lives from the cruel machinations of a power-hungry god. Excellent pacing moves readers through action-packed introductions to the brilliance and power of surprisingly down-to-earth orisas—Yoruba gods and goddesses—along with other deeply empathetic characters, each combating in their own way the trauma and horrors of the emerging slave trade. The vibrant focus on West African religious traditions organically enriches beloved, familiar elements—like another well-known mermaid, Simi will turn to seafoam if she acts on her love for a human—in a story bursting with innovative inspiration, such as maps braided into hair that showcase West African civilizations’ mathematical prowess.

A divine debut that explores the glories of West African myth, religion, and history.

(author's note, content note, further reading) (Fantasy. 14-18)