Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen
Narrated by Yetide Badaki
Listening Library | Penguin Random House Audio
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
In Skin of the Sea, listeners met Simi, a Mami Wata who collects the souls of those who die at sea, and traveled with her as she journeyed to save humanity. In Soul of the Deep, Simi discovers that despite her best intentions, her sacrifice may not have been enough. Olokun did not fulfill their promise to return Esu to Oludumare. Without Esu to bind them, the demon ajogun are threatening to break free and destroy the world. Simi must free Esu and return to the land to seal the gateway between worlds before the ajogun can escape. Along the way, Simi enlists the help of Kola-whom she thought she would never see again. Even though she knows they can never be together, their reunion is an opportunity for hope and connection.
Yetide Badaki brings characters to life with depth and nuance. Her narration brings West African spiritual beliefs to life with lots of Black girl magic in a beautiful mesh of history and myth. The audio version is especially powerful as it recenters the rich oral storytelling traditions at the heart of this narrative.
Fans of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor will love the weaving of intricate world building, mythology, romance, and high-stakes adventure found in these books.
–Josie Snow and Katie Patterson
Other Nominated Titles:
- Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate; narrated by Riley Redgate (04/05/2022)
- The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling; narrated by Katie Koster and Kristen DiMercurio (12/7/2021)
- When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez; narrated by Elisabet Velasquez (09/21/2021)
- Alma Presses Play by Tina Cane; narrated by Dana Wing Lau (09/14/2021)
- Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez; narrated by Ana Osorio (05/31/2022)
- K-Pop Revolution by Stephan Lee; narrated by Joy Osmanski (04/05/2022)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.