08 September, 2020

[Review] Sea Witch (Sea Witch #1) by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch
Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Sea Witch series
Release Date: 31 July, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retellings/Fairy Tales/Romance
ISBN: 9780062438805
Edition: Paperback (available in Hardback, eBook, and audiobook)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 9 July, 2020
Warnings: Death
Wicked meets "The Little Mermaid" in the captivating origin story of the sea's most iconic villainess, perfect for fans of Heartless and Dorothy Must Die.

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

See more by Sarah Henning at her website.
I've always found The Little Mermaid tale to be a bit lacking in why the Sea Witch wanted the girl's voice. Beyond needing a story plot line to ensure that either love or death rule, and a moral of "be careful what you wish for"; what was the motive for the Sea Witch. This book is a lovely lead-in to a familiar story.

Evie has been the town pariah since her mother's death, though the story picks up 4 years after the death of her friend Anna, a noble-girl who had played with her. The pair had been competing for the eye of Prince Nik, the third member of their trio, though racing for a sandbar when the tides were too strong. Nik rescued Evi first, and went back for Anna but it was too late.

Anna was found by the Sea King and his daughters, and through a ritual that he'd only used once to save a woman who became his queen, they resurrected her. Anna becomes Annaleise and is adopted as one of the Sea King's daughters. Though she lacks her memories, she feels that something isn't quite right when events in the life of the mermaids leave gaps in her memories. Slowly the story unfolds of how Anna became the mermaid, and how she's plotted nothing but revenge since she realized who she was.

Using forbidden magic, she transforms herself back into Anna and returns to the surface. Evie's attempt at magic to save Anna had caused a drought of fish, and her use of magic had ripped fish from other currents in the sea. In a twisting and turning event, Evie ends up sacrificing her secret of Magic to save Nik, and drawing the wrath of the boy who loved her, Prince Iker. In a battle to the death, Evie saves Nik and drags Anna into the sea to drown for good, and somehow getting transformed and trapped in a grotto within the bay.

As the story ends, we see Evie 80 years on, as a little mermaid, one of the new Sea King's daughters comes to her to become a human to try and win one of Nik's descendant's hearts.

Overall, I enjoyed the twist and turning story. Though places were slow in spots, and the occasional interjections of flashbacks seemed unconnected at first and written in the first person perspective (which clashed with the book since it was in third person). I look forward to reading book two in this series, and other future books in the series.

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