Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I found this book by way of the usual, a book recommendation list. It’s been sitting in my library stack for a few months, and after I was finished with Sadie, I pushed it up to the top. First of all, you guys know that I am a total sucker for fairy tale retellings, and even more so for origin stories. So, when I realized that Sea Witch was a retelling of one of my favorites, The Little Mermaid, I was all over it. Sarah Henning frames the infamous villain, The Sea Witch, as a young woman named Evie, who longs to use her abilities to help her country and people, especially her prince, Niklaus, never mind that she is hiding secrets that could see her killed by her own. Already an outcast and still in mourning for the untimely passing of her only other friend, she is convinced that when a young woman resurfaces from the ocean’s dark waves, it is her Anna, somehow given life many years later. Anxious to rebalance things, Evie searches desperately for a way to make things right, never realizing that the mysterious newcomer has her own secrets to hide, and that when she makes her bargain, she has no idea the precise depth of the cost.
This book was a lovely, dark surprise! Ursula is one of my favorite villains in the Disney canon, so to know that a version of her was getting to tell her side of the story, I was really excited. I was captivated by the prose, and the gorgeous, stark setting held my imagination. I also really enjoyed the way that the book went back and forth between Evie, and events happening in the present, and Niklaus and several other characters serving to provide background and define what happened in the past. Evie was a fantastic character also; the fight between standing alone and longing to fit in really resonated with me, and I adored the way that she plunged headfirst into learning her magic, desperate to save her friend and assuage her guilt in losing her. Nicklaus, Annemette, and the charming, devilish Iker made great foils to Evie, as well as her own father and her aunt. The end was one of my favorite parts of the book, because that’s when it really picked up, especially as far as the magic and spooky, moody atmosphere. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, I was completely blown away! Absolutely amazing! The only thing that really bothered me about this book was that sometimes the characters’ way of speaking was too modern, considering it was supposed to be set in medieval-ish Denmark. Nonetheless, Sarah Henning has penned a captivating, marvelous debut and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next! The bottom line: A retelling of The Little Mermaid from the evil villain’s point of view, I loved Sea Witch, and I can’t wait to see what Sarah Henning has up her sleeve next! Next on deck: Mirage by Somaiya Daud!