Sea Witchby Sarah Henning Published 31 Jul 2018
|Publisher||Katherine Tegen Books|
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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.
"Sea Witch" Reviews
Thank you Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen books for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
"The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips."
Urusla is possibly one of my favorite villains, and finding out that this was a Little Mermaid/Ursula retelling just got me extra excited to get my hands on this book.
The start of this book seemed interesting. I’m not the kind of person who gets bored easily when it comes to books even if the beginning is boring. There were ofcourse interesting bits in between, but it felt quite dragged.
I felt like the excitement showed up after going through 70% of the book. I guessed a few things while reading, and being right actually made me a bit upset because I really wanted to love the book. I thought that would be the end of the plot twists, but I was happy to find out that I hadn't guessed them all. The last few chapters were pretty good. I was surprised with what happened at the end, and I admit that it kept me thinking even after I finished the book.
“My father, the sea king, says that when everything is as you hoped, you are blind to the imperfections.”
Overall, I really liked this book. I felt that the story was unique and that it was nicely written. A new and different twist to a beloved story.
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this was just....not good.
reasons why this book did not work for me:
-there was no plot up until the last 50ish pages
-the characters were flat with zero development
-the two male characters were completely interchangeable
-the romances were the worst cases of insta love I've ever seen
-when the plot finally picked up all the characters became different people out of nowhere
overall this book was just flat out boring
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Sea Witch follows the story of Evie, a twelve year old girl drawn to the dark powers of the sea after the tragic drowning of her best friend Anna. We follow Evie on her journey from girl to young woman, wrapped up in the exploits of her two love interests, as she meets a mysterious young woman by the shore who looks just like her former best friend, and becomes determined to make amends for the past.
There’s no denying this is a clever book for the right audience. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me, and I’m torn between a two and three star rating because it’s rather difficult to pinpoint what exactly I didn’t really enjoy. I think it was mainly that my expectations going in weren't really met. I wanted a magical fantasy retelling, filled with mermaids, but instead I got a lot of maritime history, dotted with historical atttudes towards witches in a Dutch setting and instalove. It’s a very slow paced plot and I really struggled to get past the more mundane descriptions with little to no plot development. It’s only really in the last chapters that things really start to ramp up and get suitably dark and intense. If I went in beforehand knowing this, I might have enjoyed it more as generally I do like historical novels, and usually don’t mind a slower pace if things develop well over time.
I also didn’t enjoy the love interests at all. Aside from the opening chapter which briefly explores their initial relationship, we’re given no real insight into why Nik in particular is so obsessed with Evie. He sometimes borders on overly simpering, and I did find it a little irritating - especially as it clashed with Evie and Anna’s more assertive personalities. In fact, for most of the novel, both male characters feel more like filler than actively adding anything to the plot. In comparison, I found Evie and ‘Anna’ both dynamic and interesting characters and would have loved to have seen some more in-depth character development on them both as their potential to really shine here was evident. Evie and her powers, inherited from her mother, really stand out in particular as a strong point. I just wish she wasn’t so infatuated with Iker and Nik.
I also found the writing style a little convoluted at times, with too many descriptions that made the story hard to follow easily. It was hard to keep my attention at times. I really do feel that if I’d gone into this knowing what I was expecting, I would have liked this more. I think it would have been better marketed as more of a historical novel with some magical elements later on as opposed to a YA fantasy. I hope it finds the right readers who can really appreciate the historical details that have obvious been added with great care and research.
You can find this review and other non-spoilery reviews @ The Book Prescription
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
“IT’S A PERFECT NIGHT FOR BURNING WITCHES.”
🌟 I learned to go into books without high expectations because the end result will be better whatever it is. But The little mermaid retelling? I am lying if I say that I didn’t raise up the bar a bit!
🌟 I recently read To kill a kingdom and that book was very good, it is getting much attention and for The little mermaid fans, it is actually a very good retelling! Now I don’t know if this can be called a retelling because that was only found after like 80% of the story. Actually this was the biggest problem in this series: nothing pretty much happens till 70% of the story. Now this is not a bad book, but it starts out good and then things start to get slow and there is dragging till the above mentioned part! I can see why people won’t be motivated to continue this in early parts, so if you want the good parts in this book, you have to be tolerant/patient.
🌟 The writing style is good. Not so special but it held my attention enough to make me finish this. There were a few quotes that I like too.
“My father, the sea king, says that when everything is as you hoped, you are blind to the imperfections.”
🌟 The characters are well-written. Once again, nothing too special and by that I mean I didn’t add them to a favorite list or any list in mind, I believe they are the kind that is good but won’t stick with me for a long time.
🌟 Summary: There are many Mermaids stories now and they are increasing too. Sea witch is not the best one of them, but it is a good story if you wait enough. The last 20-30% made me happy. There were literal quotes from the Little mermaid movie, I know some scenes by heart and that’s why I got excited reading them. The majority of the book is 3 stars for me, the final parts were 4 and 5 stars. So the final Rating from me will be 3.5 stars!
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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I need this
That is all.
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Sea Witch is one of those books that grew on me more and more with every page that I read.
I started it with excitement because I love The Little Mermaid and Ursula as a villain but also some hesitation because villain origin stories can be repetitive and unoriginal. But what I got out of Sea Witch was incredibly special!
"I could tell her that it's like the tang of summer wine and the sound of arrival bells as a new ship docks. Like the scent of salt and limes and the tinkle of a boy's eyes just before a kiss in the moonlight."
This is also one of those books that I have a super hard time doing a review for because it's one that just took my heart by storm. I have a huge emotional connection to it that is hard to put into words.
Not just that, it did exactly what I wanted from a villain origin story. It had some twists and turns and unexpected revelations and in general felt very original. In my personal opinion it didn't go the well-known paths that millions of authors have gone before.
But obviously with retellings or villain origin stories it always depends a little bit on the picture you have of the fairytale or villain. These can be hit or miss solely on the fact that this author's portrayal of a character simply doesn't fit what you imagine that character to be. So it's hard for me to wholeheartedly recommend this, I just know that I truly loved this and I keep thinking about this story and its characters, days after finishing.
It's also hard to talk about my expectations and how well they were fulfilled without going into spoiler territory or ruining your reading experience. As I said, I was impressed by this because I thought it went a different route than one might expect from an origin story like this. I think it is an amazing ability to write a story where everybody already knows the ending but constantly have you question how we will get there and what will tip this story over. I had huge hopes for how this would turn out but I was still questioning everything until the very end.
"I return to my lair, the new silence ringing in my ears. Somehow, it's more painful than before. As if hearing a new voice, regaining the shortest moment of humanity, has torn open the wound that is my loneliness."
But as I said, not only did it completely meet my expectations, it was first and foremost a book that I was emotionally invested in from the very beginning. And it broke my heart. I could already tell after the first third that this would shatter my heart into pieces, long before I knew how. And there's not a lot of books that can do that so effortlessly.
I know this is not my most conclusive review but it's probably one of the most sincere ones I've ever written. Because while I like all the aspect of this book and I could tell you how great the characters are or how much I liked the setting, I simply fell in love with this book. And there's not always a way to explain why.
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I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!