Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: July 31st, 2018
Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.
Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.
A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.
“Beautiful and cruel, and every glimmering wrinkle in between. Filling our bellies and our coffers when she is generous. Coolly watching as we don black and add tears to her waters when she is wicked.”
I was so excited to read this book not only because so far I’d hear nothing but amazing things, but also because I feel I’m always on the hunt for a great retelling, and I haven’t come across many Little Mermaid retellings that are more focused on the perspective of the sea witch, so needless to say I couldn’t wait to pick this book up. And I have to say that it was a complete disappointment to me.
I don’t know what I was expecting when I first started reading Sea Witch, but what it ended up happening in the book wasn’t that at all. Though it had a lot of potencial and I could see why many people would have enjoyed it, I found it so lackluster and plain.
First of all let me start by saying that the characters were so over the top normal and simple that I couldn’t really tell who was who until half of the story. They were so underdeveloped and I feel nothing interesting happened between them until the very end of the book. Our main character was so annoying and cringy, and those things made me not connect with her as I expected throughout the story.
Also I hated the love triangle that this novel had. I feel that even though the romance took too much importance in this book, there was barely any interactions between those characters, and it was as if we’re supposed to ship them with that little information that the author gave us. The conversations between them were so awkward and juvenile that it was a little hard to believe that relationship.
“Perhaps you need to avoid the cove when the moon is strong, Evelyn,” I mutter. The moon can do funny things to a witch.
And I don’t know why but I was expecting a much darker tone than what I found, mostly because what I love about Ursula in the Little Mermaid wasn’t in Sea Witch, and that was so disappointing. There wasn’t any hint that it was going to be a villain origin story besides from the description in the synopsis, and I couldn’t see a progress that would made her a villain at the end of the book (examples of amazing villain origin stories: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, The Language of Thorns..).
So since nothing was actually happening during 3/4 of the book, I was trying to push myself to continue reading, because I read that towards the end it got so much better, so that’s what I did. I wasn’t connecting with the writing or the characters, and I was so bored out of my mind, but I pushed through with hopes that it would get better.
Turns out, it didn’t. I hated the ending so so much I cannot express with words. Everything that happened in the last thirty pages was so anticlimactic and came out of nowhere that it didn’t redeemed the story for me, if not the opposite. I mean, I feel I was betrayed by the amazing premise that I was going to be a great origin story of Ursula, and it ended up being THAT. What a disappointment *sighs*.
Overall, though I could see potential and the premise of Sea Witch sounded amazing, it ended up being a nope for me. The characters were so plain and simple and they didn’t have great interactions or dynamics, and I feel that it wasn’t really an origin story.
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