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Soul of the Deep

Authored by Natasha Bowen
Published by Penguin Random House Children's UK

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The second book in the Skin of the Sea series where Simi must go against her strongest inclinations and trust a trickster of a God.

Natasha Bowen utilises her Nigerian heritage to draw African mythology steeped in mermaids and Gods and devilish characters. Joining the ranks of Jessie Burton and Natalie Haynes, Bowen explores the tales of the African Sea and the Orisas who populated them.

Soul of the Deep continues Simidele’s story from Skin of the Sea. Both explore the fantasy world of 15th and 16th century mythological tales of mermaids saving the souls of the dead enslaved who are lost from Slave Ships off the African coast. As a follow up to Skin of the Sea, Soul of the Deep develops the characters, the world building and the narrative in a way that compels. There is tension arising from a quest, from a love interest and as a result of a family destroyed by enslavement.

As a reader we are drawn into the adventure that the characters have. Simi is an alluring character in the way that many mermaids from mythology have been. But here her allure is for young women to consider their strengths, their wisdom and their bravery. Simi is all of these things but she is also quiet and reflective and the lessons she learns become valuable lessons for her readers. Bowen takes her Nigerian heritage and writes a tale for all readers but especially adds to the growing range of myths that are being wonderfully rewritten and re-imagined for a YA audience. Steeped in the good and evil of both the human and the godly world, Soul of the Deep revisits the world built in Skin of the Sea in a way that shows the growth of the writer and the growing appeal of the character.