Review of Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Read: 9th July 2018 – 14th July 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: One major one

This book is a backstory for the sea witch in Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, exploring how she came to exist and how she knew how to make a mermaid take on a human form. Some details in this novel take more from the Disney version, rather than the original novel, but Evie is no Ursula, and only ever tries to help those around her. If you’re expecting a villain origin story, a-la Heartless, you aren’t going to find it here, and will probably be disappointed if that’s what you’re looking for. Disney films are great and all, but never trust their adaptations to be accurate.

really enjoyed reading this!!

The Little Mermaid is quite possibly one of my favourite fairytales, and the summary references Wicked as well. I cannot overstate how much I love that musical.

I knew going in to this that it was a prequel, but for the majority of the novel I found myself wondering if that had been a mistake, and if it was just a straight retelling. I wouldn’t have minded if it was, like I said, I love this story. But it is a prequel.

There are a lot of flashbacks in this novel. The death of Evie’s friend, Anna, is explored in great detail from many different perspectives. A lot happened that day, and the reader probably won’t appreciate all of its significance at first. The writing styles between these flashbacks and the ordinary narration were distinctly different, which I really liked! The main narration was in first person, from Evie’s point of view. The flashbacks were in third person, from many different points of view, but the narration never said the name of the character it was following, substituting things like ‘the prince’. It gave them an almost dream-like quality and I thought it was really cool!

I really liked the magic in this novel. It uses the idea that things cannot be created from nothing, and that there has to be some sacrifice somewhere down the line. Magic for nothing is fun, yes, but this kind of magic means that there’s more risk with using it, which I think is really interesting to read.

The only reason why this didn’t get five stars from me is because the whole way through Evie is insecure about her relationship with one of the princes, only to suddenly realise that she was in love with the other. Also at this point Ike had just turned on her because her being a witch was revealed, and her feelings about this could’ve been explored a lot more. But she realised that she liked Nik and forgot all about Ike. This bugged me enough to dock it a star, as it detracted what what was otherwise a solid climax.

If you like magic, retellings, or the sea in general, I’d definitely recommend this book!

I received an e-arc through Netgalley in return for an honest review. Quotes may differ in the published version.

Review originally written in 2018

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Waterstones | Hive

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