Sea Witchby Published 31 Jul 2018
|Publisher||Katherine Tegen Books|
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
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.
Buddy Reading this with Queen Of ARCs
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.
♦ Video Review ♦
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.
♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦
I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
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.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
I wasn’t sure about this when I first started reading it, but I’m so glad I carried on! Around the 40pg mark, I became hooked on the plot. It ended up being hard to put down. Very unique take on the classic story of The Little Mermaid. I think people are going to enjoy this one!