'Skin of the Sea' Book Club Readalong Day 3!By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @taylortakesphotos
Welcome back to the third day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's December book, Skin of the Sea!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 10-13 of Skin of the Sea, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.
Please note that there is a content warning I encourage you to read at the beginning of the book before starting!
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCSkinOfTheSea for another chance to win!
The story continues...
Oya, Sango’s wife and other orisa, also appears in the sky and together they start attacking the ship. When one of the people on board says a prayer it seems Oya hears as she descends to the ship deck, taking in the people on board. Soon joined by Sango, they reveal that they are hunting òyìnbó ships, despite the risk of getting Olodumare’s wrath. They have made an alliance with Esu, who will not reveal their activities to Olodumare. Oya realizes what Simidele is once she sees the sapphire necklace of Yemoja, and quietly tells Simidele to be wary. Oya and Sango may have an alliance with Esu, but Oya will not betray Yemoja. She also tells Simidele that Esu believes he is closer than ever to finding the rings.
As they get ready to leave Oya again quickly approaches Simidele, telling her they must leave quickly. Somehow Esu knows they are there. They sail away, seemingly undetected at first, but before long another angry storm ignites, attacking and destroying their boat. Simidele grabs Kola and she transforms back to her Mami Wati self.
Simidele wakes half in the water on a sandy beach. In a panic, she starts searching in the water for Kola, finding only a torn section of his wrapper. She is approached by an abada, a mythical creature that is the harbinger of the lost. It seems to want her to follow, so she swims alongside going up stream in a river, which eventually leads to a stream, and then she must walk father in land. It pushes her into a large glade full of small people, yumboes, dancing and drumming around an unconscious Kola. When they see her they freeze.
The yumboes welcome Simidele, telling her that they found Kola in the sea and rescued him, and have been dancing for his health. He is indeed alive and wakes to find Simidele at his side. Other than a sore side and a bump on his head he seems uninjured. The yumboes prepare a meal for everyone, and Kola asks one of them if they know where his village, which he reveals is called Oko, is located. They do tell him if they left immediately they could be there by morning. Out of nowhere the yumboes all collapse, but are still breathing. When Simidele looks around her Kola is gone.
She is in a vision of sorts, in a clearing filled with the bones of dead yumboes. She runs, everything on the land dead, from crops to livestock. When she comes upon a village she sees that there too all the villagers have passed. Simidele screams.
She is roused from her vision by Kola, the yumboes also coming to. One of the yumboes, Salif, tells them that they are connected to the earth, and if anything upsets the balance the yumboes feel it. Kola thinks he knows what has happened. He tells them that his two younger siblings are twins, and the babalawo prophesied that they are the manifestations of Ibeji, orisas of glee, mischief and abundance. Salif tells them that is why the yumboes settled there, as since their birth the land has been flourishing. Salif wonders if something has happened to the twins as what the yumboes experienced felt like something severing.
As they prepare to leave Salif tells them that it is rumoured Esu has been on the lands near by. Issa, one of the young yumboes, volunteers to lead them to Oko, imploring them that it will be quicker with him as a guide. It is agreed. They also gift them the powder of some of the horn harvested from the abada, said to cure almost anything.
They set out on the journey, but after not much time they hear trampling in the distance. Jumping out of the way a herd of panicked elephants stampedes past them, from the direction they must travel. Simidele’s feet hurt from traveling over land, so it is a relief when they must cross a river and she is able to turn back into a Mami Wata. Issa leads Kola over a bridge made of wooden slats, assuring him it will hold his weight, but it cracks when he is halfway across, sending Kola plunging into the river. At first they laugh, but then Simidele notices bubbles coming from upstream, and before she can react, Kola is pulled beneath the surface.A creature reappears, Kola in its jaws. Issa calls it a Ninki Nanka, a serpentine like creature. With her dagger Simidele is able to get the Ninki Nanka to release Kola, and deciding to try something, she uses her Mami Wata powers to tell the creature to wait. It obeys. Once Kola is out of the water she asks it why it attacked, and it tells her because the world is no longer balanced, and will slowly rot, but no matter the creature still needs to eat. Simidele leaves the creature in the water, turning human once more. She berates Issa for not telling them about the Ninki Nanka, but Kola tells her to stop being so hard. He has minor injuries, but isn’t seriously hurt.
- What do you think has caused the world to become unbalanced?
- Do you think something has happened to Kola’s twin siblings?
- Why do you think Simidele seems to dislike Issa so much?
- Do you think Oya has betrayed them in some way?
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