Skin Of The Sea Book Review

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Skin Of The Sea by Natasha Bowen.

Rating: ✯✯✯

Skin Of The Sea follows the protagonist, Simidele, who is a member of the Mami Wata (mermaids who collect the souls of people who die at sea and bless their journey home). When a boy is thrown over a ship of enslaved people, Simidele saves his life – and goes against an ancient degree in the process, putting the whole of the Mami Wata in danger. To save them, she must make the dangerous journey to the Supreme Creator to ask for forgiveness – but will she make it before it’s too late?

Honestly, I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would. I was so excited to read it when it came out back in November 2021 and it just didn’t do that much for me, which was really disappointing! The premise in this was so good, the general idea of black mermaids saving the souls of those from slave ships was fascinating and Simidele’s journey was also really interesting, but I just felt the execution fell flat.

With that being said, the aspect which I enjoyed the most in this book was definitely the references to African mythology. It was really nice seeing how obviously well researched it was, and I definitely appreciated this. I also found it really interesting learning more about all the different gods, and I really enjoyed Simidele’s interactions with them – they were a major highlight for me.

I also really liked the relationship between Simidele and Kola. Despite the two never actually getting together, I found the execution of this really good. I loved the interactions and obvious tension between them and I found myself rooting for them to be together, even if I knew that wasn’t possible.

The friendship was also excellent. I really liked the bond Kola, Bem and Yinka all shared in particular, which was helped by their long history. Yinka in particular was really protective over Kola, and I loved that they were like a mini family – their interactions always made me smile.

However, that’s pretty much where the positives ended for me. Having a connection with the characters is really important for me to enjoy a book, and I just felt no connection to the characters whatsoever. I don’t think any of them were developed enough and there was also literally no character development from the beginning to the end, which was really disappointing to see. The characters all felt really one dimensional and it meant that I just wasn’t that invested in the story.

Of course, this wasn’t helped by the weird pace of the book. It felt like nothing happened in at least the first two thirds of this and I really struggled to get through the pages. I’m someone who really appreciates lots of action in my books and I found this to be incredibly lacking, until the last 70 or so pages where it was all crammed in.

The lack of action probably wasn’t helped by the visions, either. Throughout the book, Simidele had flashbacks of her old life as human, and I found they really slowed the book down even more. Just when something vaguely interesting started happening Simidele it seemed Simidele would get another vision, which was a little frustrating. With that being said, they did allow for some more exploration of ancient African culture, history, and knowledge, which I did enjoy – I just thought they could’ve been dialed down a bit.

What really sealed the deal for me, though, was when the twist was revealed. It was something I’d seen coming literally as soon as the relevant character was introduced and it was such a let down. I know that predictability can be a good thing but it was way too obvious and it completely spoiled the reveal for me, as I’d seen it coming a mile off.

Overall, I would still recommend this for anyone who likes mermaids or The Little Mermaid retellings, as this was a really unique addition to the collection – I’d just go in with few expectations. I’d also recommend it for anyone interested in African mythology, as this was a really big part of the book and something that I learnt a lot more about through it.

Have you read Skin Of The Sea yet? Will you be adding it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Ceri

41 thoughts on “Skin Of The Sea Book Review

  1. I’m sorry this was a disappointment for you but I appreciate you presenting the positive and negative about this book. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a shame the book wasn’t a 5 star rating but I do love the fact it teaches readers about African mythology – I can imagine that to be very interesting. i think I’ll give the book a pass but thank you for sharing such a in-depth review with us lovely, I always appreciate them! Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sucks that you didn’t fully enjoy it, but I did enjoy reading about all the positives, especially the idea of mermaids being messengers of the souls to the afterlife. As I’m not a big fan of characters that do not develop/grow throughout the story I won’t be adding it to my TBR. Thank you for sharing your honest review!

    Loren | plaidandsugar.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear you still appreciated the positives – and agreed, it’s a lovely concept! I’m glad I’m not alone on the character development, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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  4. What a shame this book wasn’t what you thought it would be! The plot sounds interesting and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, too bad it wasn’t executed very well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely disappointing – I agree that it had a lot of potential but unfortunately it just wasn’t executed well enough! Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

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  5. I do love a retelling of a classic tale, even better if there’s some mythology thrown in. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this as much as you hoped, but I think I’m intrigued enough to give it a go, so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review Ceri! It’s a shame that there wasn’t a good connection between the characters or character development. That’s the most important part of a story and it’s disappointing that it fell flat. I am glad there were certain aspects of this book that you could enjoy. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes it definitely is, I tend to enjoy character-central books more too so unfortunately this really didn’t work for me. I definitely took away some positives though! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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  7. Thanks for sharing such a honest review, I understand when you mentioned about having to have a connection. I find it difficult to complete the book and so character building is paramount.
    Thank you again

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, honest reviews are so important! I’m so glad I’m not alone with that, I think it can really be key to a good story and unfortunately it was lacking here. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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  8. I’ve heard of this book and really want to read it! Your review has made me want to read it, I really know nothing about African mythology but would love to know more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that I swayed you – I genuinely learnt so much about African mythology through this and I’d love to do some follow up reading too! I hope you enjoy it, thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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  9. Oof! This is a bit of a bummer. I’ve had this one on my TBR as well, but after reading your review, I might not move forward with reading it, since the things that didn’t hit the mark for you are all things I value in my own reads. It’s always sad when a book you’re excited about winds up being a letdown. Sorry about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really glad I could help then – and I’m glad to hear you value those things too! Oh absolutely, it’s the worst feeling. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

  10. The cover of this read is certainly stunning and I love the name “Simidele”. It is so watery and pretty. As a fan of The Little Mermaid, I think that despite a few drawbacks as mentioned in your review, I would love to read this book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is a shame that the book didn’t live up to your expectations. it is good that you have taken positives from it though! Fantasy isn’t my usual go-to genre, so I don’t think I will be looking out for this one, unfortunately.
    Thanks for sharing your review 🙂
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely is, although there were some good aspects in there! Me neither actually, but I wanted to give this one a chance. Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂 xx

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  12. I also often struggle with books where nothing happens the first half of the book or even 1 thirds and I can’t go on. I liked your explaining the positives of the two characters relationship if nothing else was better. Great and balanced review. Xx
    Isa A . Blogger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I’m not alone with that – I find action is always a massive must for holding my attention! I’m really glad you appreciated it, thank you so much for reading and commenting xx

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  13. This is a really detailed review! I know what you mean though – when you can’t connect to the characters it can be a bit frustrating and also when the twist is a bit too obvious it can be disappointing. I think a good book should have a bit of a shock factor. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you feel that way too, I always find it’s crucial for me truly getting into a book, and unexpected twists are always a must for me. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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  14. This book actually sounds quite interesting. It’s not something I’d pick up if I saw it on the shelf as its not my sort of thing (horror fan), but I do like books that have a lot of history in them.

    Its a shame you didn’t enjoy it especially as you were looking forward to reading it. I hate it when a book just falls flat. But at least you did find some positives in it.

    I’m torn with this one. It’s an original and intriguing story, but just not the sort of book I’d usually go for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely is! It’s not my typical genre either but I was really drawn to it when I saw it and I loved the references to history too.

      It truly is, but there were some really good aspects of it – I just think overall the execution just fell short!

      I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

  15. Welldone! I love this review and the fact that your criticism was constructive! I love how you talk about the positive side and the negative side without discouraging anyone from reading.
    Will definitely check it out 🤠

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad to hear you appreciated that, I always try and make sure my reviews are as honest and balanced as possible. I hope you enjoy it, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

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