Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (ARC)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | Pages: 368
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the book 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.
This book was high on my list of anticipated reads for this year. I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of it from the publisher and I was so excited to read it. That said, this book did fall flat for me, overall.
Let me first say that my absolute favourite thing about this book is the Danish history. Most people know of The Little Mermaid from Disney, but it was in fact originally a story written by Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish author. In this sense, I love that the setting of this story was 19th century Denmark. Not only is it an interesting backdrop for the story, but also a wonderful nod to the original creator.
The Danish history was so well incorporated and it’s not a history that I have been introduced to in YA before. Prior to reading this, I have visited Denmark and know a little bit of history, but I certainly learned a lot more throughout this novel.
The characters were enjoyable. They definitely are not some of my favourite characters, however, they made the story enjoyable. There were interesting antics and banter, and definitely a huge undertone of friendship.
The romance in this novel was just so underwhelming for me. It was kind of there and kind of not? Most of the time I was frustrated with the prospect of romance and then feeling let down.
Now, I was certainly drawn to this novel purely based on my love for Disney, and the Little Mermaid. I love retellings and maybe to my own fault, I place high expectations on the end result that it’s going to have. This was no different.
I wanted to love this book. The synopsis and cover alone grabbed me. But the story did not. Now, this is not to say that the story itself is terrible. But the pacing of it, is. This book is just incredibly slow. I wanted to get this review up in time for its release today, and there were several times where I questioned whether or not I would be able to.
The question is, would I recommend this book. To be honest, I would – to the right sort of person. This book was incredibly slow but it has a fun historical premise and does involve mermaids, which are certainly big at the moment. Overall, it was something that I didn’t hate, but it did not live up to my initial expectations.
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.
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