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Skin of the Sea... Revisited - Review



Ok, back for Part 2. Go ahead and crucify me. It turns out my original decision to DNF was not because of the reading slump I developed. The book was boring as shit. I picked the title back up for B2Weird's January book club book pick, and I've regretted it ever since. I couldn't take reading it anymore, so I switched to the audio version narrated by Yetide Badaki. The voice of the Akata Witch could not save this, and I don't know what else can anymore.



Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Everyone got excited for this book because it showcased a black mermaid as the main character. Automatically, people compared The Little Mermaid's Ariel with Mami Wata's Simi Dele and assumed we would get a blackwash version of Under the Sea. I know I did. It turns out Bowen did her research very well and was able to create an original story from the African mythology she came across. My previous statement still stands:

"I read the author's note, which I thought was one of the most honest and purest things I've read this year. Bowen explains how even though The Little Mermaid was one of her favorite books as a child, she never saw any other mermaids she could relate to. Hence the creation of Skin of the Sea. Using the classic retelling of mermaid girl saving boy and falling in love as the guideline, Bowen used African lore and historical elements to replace Sebastian and his friends from under the sea. Instead, we're introduced to the Orisha Gods, rebels commandeering slave ships, African fairies, unicorns, etc. It's a wild spin on West African culture and European pop culture. I like that the author did this much research to ensure that, if anything, a little girl of color will see herself as a mythical sea creature and learn about facts that were lost over time. Our history did not begin with slavery."

So what happened? Where did the allure go? I don't know! The plot bored me. The journey bored me. The characters bored me. The personalities bored me. The best thing I pulled from this book is the brief appearances of the Orishan Gods. If we can get a good tale running, such as with Greek and Norse Mythology, I think it would be an instant cult of people wanting to know more about them. Other than that, I don't remember much about the story. And I just closed the book two minutes ago.



I'm highly disappointed. My anticipated read turned out to be a bust, and I can't get that time back. I couldn't find myself to care. I downgraded my 3-star rating to a 2. I also found out that Skin of the Sea will be a duology. Firstly, no. Secondly, Bowen wrapped up so much in the first book I don't know what she's going to talk about in the second book. I won't be reading to find out. For that, I'll sip my hot cocoa and watch the hot takes on Instagram.


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