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.
The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.
"Sea Witch" Reviews
OMFG, that synopsis!!! I haven't even read the book yet and I can already feel the heartbreak to come. And though I am never a fan of cover/character models, I don't terribly mind this one. I think it fits well. But anyways back to the synopsis, I'm crying already.
October 2017 --> May 2018 --> July 2018
Wait, this went from October 2017 to May 2018? OMG why!!!?
While I am happy the title is no longer Heartless (so as not to be confused with the Marissa Meyer book coming out this year), I feel the title Sea Witch is just a bit...lackluster? On the nose? Idk but I hope the official title gets changed again prior to publication
I need this
That is all.
The sea is a fickle witch.3 1/2 stars. I gave myself a bit of a headache trying to rate this book. Parts of it were 2 stars, other parts 4/4.5, so in the end I've settled on this. But I will say one thing: this book is probably not what you are expecting. I hope it can find the right readers.
She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips.
It's really a question of how much patience you have. And how easily you can sit through maritime chapters without falling asleep. It's a very slowly-paced book, especially during the first two thirds of the story. Any exciting witchy The Little Mermaid goodness you might be expecting happens in the later chapters, and even then it's pretty subdued.
Though, in many ways, Sea Witch is much smarter than I expected for a YA The Little Mermaid retelling. The story is set in 19th Century Denmark and is woven with hundreds of years of Danish history. The Danes, especially under King Christian IV, put many "witches" to death in the 16th and 17th centuries. Henning combines this real fear of witches on land with the story of the sea witch we all know from the Andersen tale (and the Disney remake).
There are many interesting aspects of what the author has done here. I love that so much of it is rooted in history; I love that I googled Øresund Kingdoms and discovered that the Øresund strait is a real thing. I love that it mentioned the infamous "witch" - Maren Spliid.
The story is about three unlikely childhood friends - Nik (the prince), Anna (now deceased) and Evie (the half-Italian fisherman's daughter). In the present of the story, Nik's near-drowning results in him being saved by a mysterious girl who looks like Anna. She is the beautiful Annemette and Evie quickly befriends her, feeling drawn towards this stranger who looks so like her friend.
Slowly drawn friendship and romantic dynamics lead toward magical secrets. Annemette is clearly not all she appears to be, but the depths of what she's hiding are indeed dark and full of terrors. This is all set to an atmospheric backdrop of salty air and sea breezes. Henning does a great job of infusing everything with a sea-like essence.
Also, Nik is a delightful little sweetie. Rarely are male characters allowed to be such starry-eyed romantics and it was adorable, yet not unrealistic.
Unfortunately, though, it really is slow. I actually wonder if I would have made it through if I hadn't committed to an arc, and I foresee many DNFs on the horizon. It's not a thrills and romance kind of book - it's a gentle wander through history, class divides and the unwarranted fear of witches. The occasional third person chapters also slow down the book. I think Sea Witch will work really well for the right sort of reader, but I think the majority of readers will pick this up expecting something it doesn't deliver.
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Actual Rating: 3.5
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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So this is from Ursula's POV, but who cares?! Villains are so much more interesting than heroes anyway.. Kidding :P
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.
I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!