Thoughts on SEA WITCH

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.

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I love the cover.

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.

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For some reason, Iker reminded me of this.  “Love me Evie! … from afar.”

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.

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Because we’re talking about writing next.

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.

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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!

An Odd Interview Question

Hello again!  Happy July!  I hope my fellow Americans had a safe and wonderful Independence Day.  I also hope all of my Canadian friends did the same on Canada Day.  Anyway, about a week ago, I was searching through some of my old files from my Eastfield (community college) days looking for a particular poem when I ran across a list of interview questions I had to create for one of my classes.  One of those questions brought back some memories.  The question was “If you could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?”  For some reason, it always seemed to make whoever I asked stop and really think hard.  Even the teacher remarked that it was an odd and creative question.  Which was weird, because it’s the type of thing that I think about all the time.  Maybe it was because I didn’t set up any rules (no time limit, no information on whether the change is permanent, etc.).  I left everything up to the person being asked.  Or maybe I’m just weird.  But I thought I’d take the chance to answer the question myself, since I never have before.

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Or maybe I just spend too much time on the Interwebz.  Though, my question is broader and approximately 10 years old, so yeah.

So, if I could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?  That one has always been a no-brainer for me.  Of course, I would be a mermaid.  The “why” is a little more complicated.  I mean, aside from the fact that they’re awesome and Ariel was nuts to give up her fins for a man, what other reasons do I need?  Fine, we can get personal I guess.

First, and contrary to popular opinion, I actually love water.  I miss being able to go swimming immensely, not that I could actually swim, it was more of a vertical doggie paddle.  But yeah, I liked being in water because it gave me much more control over my body (I could walk, and move my arms, and stretch beyond my comfort zone without having to worry about someone assisting me and pushing me too far/breaking something, etc.).  So, the attraction to water led to an early love of mermaids.  Then came the whole gills versus lungs thing.  My lungs suck, so gills became even more attractive as I got older.  But I swear my attraction to mermaids is mostly because they are magical and gorgeous and so fecking cool.

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One of Amy Brown’s mermaids.

It’s not like I want to be a mermaid all the time, though.  So, the power to switch back and forth would be a must.  At least in the beginning.  Who knows, I might enjoy exploring the sea so much that I eventually never want to come back.  Or I might hate it.  Either way, I want the option.  Maybe I’d have a limited number of swaps (like maybe five or something; always an odd number so I’d be forced to choose human on the fourth or whatever try, but always have that lingering option to go mermaid forever) to make things more exciting.  I should probably write about mermaids more often.  Story idea: cripple turns into mermaid.  Must eventually choose between life on land or at sea.  Adventures and peril abound.  I could totally write that.

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Art by NanFe.  Plus, mermaids can be super creepy!

What about you?  What creature would you choose?  Is it a no-brainer or do you have to think about it?  And yes, staying human is an option as long as you explain your reasoning.  It doesn’t have to be a deep, thoughtful reason either.  Go with your gut!

See you next week!