Howdy, howdy! Due to the random sicknesses of the past couple of months, I forgot to request a book from NetGalley for March. Luckily, I had a book on my to-be-read list that I’ve been looking for an excuse to read ever since it came out in July of last year. My love of mermaids automatically drew me towards Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. The fact that it sounded like a new take on the Little Mermaid (my favorite fairy tale) sealed the deal. I had to read it. But that’s enough of why I chose it, let’s get to the review.
Sarah Henning’s Sea Witch tells the story Evie, a peasant and a witch, who not only has to hide her power, but also has to put up with the townsfolk accusing her of not knowing her place just because she’s best friends with the prince (Nik) and close to his cousin (Iker), another prince. When her other best friend, Anna, was taken by the sea, Evie’s whole life fell apart until she thrust herself into studying magic. Evie and Nik never stopped mourning Anna, but when a mysterious stranger who resembles their dead friend appears, Evie finds herself a purpose: keeping her new friend on land. Unfortunately, Evie has no idea what kind of magic it will take, nor does she understand the repercussions until it’s too late.
This isn’t some Disney-ified version of the tale with replicas of Ariel and Ursula and Erik. These characters are mostly well-developed and have a nice balance between light and dark within them. However, I do admit that Iker and Nik could have used a bit more personality. Nik was an ideal prince through and through. I wanted him to be a little selfish and at least make his desires known. Iker, on the other hand, is a stereotypical playboy prince who turns his back on Evie when he thinks she’s a threat to him and his family.
As far as the plot goes, I have some issues with the reasoning behind Annemette’s whole revenge thing. I just don’t believe someone who was always best friends with these people would blame them like that. But I’ll say it was because of her lack of a soul. I’m sure that would corrupt people and make them do weird things. But other than that, I have no real qualms with the book. In fact, I’m really happy the story didn’t take the happy ending route where friendship conquers everything. That would’ve been far too sappy a climax and not a fitting tribute to the original Little Mermaid.
The writing is mostly smooth and enjoyable. Most of the romance between Evie and Iker comes off as corny and more funny than I think it was supposed to, but I got a good chuckle out of it. I also admit that a couple of the past sections confused me. At one point, I’m not entirely sure if Iker or Nik is the main character for one of those parts. It’s easy enough to figure it out after the fact, but during it, I was super confuzzled.
Ultimately, I’m glad I found this book. A friend actually pointed out that a second one is coming out this year. I will definitely be picking it up to see what Evie is up to next.
Overall, I gave Sea Witch four out of five stars. If you love mermaids or witches or both, this book is a worthy addition to your library. Bonus points if you’re into fairy tale retellings!