Tuesday, August 7, 2018

#Review - Sea Witch by Sarah Henning #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult / Fairy Tales & Folklore

Wicked meets The Little Mermaid in this thrilling YA fantasy debut that reimagines the origin story of the sea’s most iconic villainess.

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 offshore, 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 her new friend harbors secrets of her own.

 She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, without Evie’s help. But 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.

Sarah Henning's Sea Witch is being sold as Wicked meets The Little Mermaid. I think it's fair to call this a villains origin story. The villain being Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Sea Witch is set in 19th century Denmark where a hatred and fear of witches still exists years after King Christian IV aka The Witch Hunter, put witches to death by burning them. In this story, the fear of witches is still palpable, to the point where our heroine, Evie is an outcast 4 years after her best friend Anna drowned in the cove and nobody could save her. 

Evie is the only daughter of the Royal Fisherman. Nik and Evie have been best friends since forever, and she has saved his life a time or two. While Evie is best friends with Nik, Anna was right by her side until the day she died. Evie may be best friends with Nik, but it is the womanizing, seafaring Crown Prince of Rigeby Bay Iker who Evie has feelings for, but knows he is way out of her league. The story alternates between present and past as the author tries to bring both sides of the story together. It is mostly told from Evie's POV, but Annemett's story is included as well.

After a strange and beautiful girl, Annemette, saves Nik after a storm, Evie believes that her best friend Anna has somehow managed to come back from the dead. The only problem is that Annemette claims she isn't and that as a mermaid, she can only be on land for 4 days before she has to return to the sea from where she came from. Unless she finds true love's kiss, then she can stay. While Mette and Evie quickly become friends, things start to get real. 

Sea Witch cuts close to the bone when it comes to the retelling of The Little Mermaid, and the villainous Ursula. This is a story of friendship between Nik, Anna, and Evie who is about the unluckiest of characters you will find. From the hardship of losing her mother, to having her best friend die, to being scoffed at and scorned by those who live in her village, to being told she isn't worth the salt she walks on and will never be as good as their prince Nik. The only real constant in her life is Tante Hansa, who is a witch, but has been allowed to live thanks to saving the King. This book is a real slow starter. It isn't until the 75% point where things get really interesting, and then the ending just punches you in the kisser. POW! It's fair to say that I felt for Evie when all is said and done, and wished that things could have been different. Then, the story wouldn't have been a villains origin story, would it?


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