ARC review, book review, young adult

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (ARC Review)

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Mythology, Mermaids
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Published: July 31, 2018
Source: Publisher

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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.

– My Review –

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This book was so different from what I expected when I first heard that Sea Witch was going to get published! Firstly, I thought that it would all take place in the ocean, while it actually mostly took place on land. And secondly, I did not think that the villainess would be so likeable and normal, since the villains in other villain origin stories that I have read usually possessed negative attributes from the start (or close to the start) of the story and were therefore entertaining if not entirely likeable. So, Sea Witch was definitely a surprise in that sense, as well as in other ways. There were some twists to the story (some of which I predicted, and others which took me by surprise), and those twists definitely kept me engaged when the pacing might have felt slower otherwise.

I found the characters to be enjoyable, and I definitely had a crush on Iker for part of the book. I also definitely rooted for the romantic and non-romantic relationships that grew and developed throughout the course of the novel. Despite this, I believe that the thing that I liked the most about Sea Witch was the world building, the ties to historical Danish culture, and also how Evie’s tale tied into Hans Christian Andersen’s original “The Little Mermaid” story (which I read and studied in university) rather than the Disney version. This is not because I dislike the Disney version (not in the least!), but rather because Andersen’s story was so mysginistic (something which was quite common for stories created in his day), while Sea Witch has a more feminist take on the world, culture, and characters. Therefore, while this book didn’t really make me smile, it certainly had me on the edge of my seat at times, and had me rooting for the strong female characters within. I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy stories about mermaids, retellings of classic fairytales, villain origin stories, and strong feminist characters!

– About the Author –

 

Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

– Purchase Links –

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amazon-uk book-depository amazon-australia

THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!

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