Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eerie, Villian Background, Dark Magic, Friendship, Little Mermaid Retelling

Synopsis: The Little Mermaid as you have never seen it before. Fisherman’s daugther Evie, noble born Anna and Prince Nik are unlikely friends, that is until Anna is killed in a tragic accident. Years later, Evie is trying to cope with the judgement that comes with her lower social station, while trying to keep a dangerous secret–she comes from a family of witches in a town where having this gift can get you killed. None of this seems to matter once Evie meets Annemette, a mysterious girl who bears a striking resemblance to drowned Anna. Where did Annemette come from and can she truly be Evie’s lost friend?

Thoughts: Unfortunately, the begginning half of this book dragged a bit, but overall I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Going into fairytale retellings I am usually pretty skeptical, especially when they are YA. I like them in theory, but find that they can often be predictable in practice. Sea Witch, however, actually surprised me. I thought I knew where this story was going; I mean, by the end of this book we need to have the Ursula-like villian we know. The strength of this book truly is in its second half and how it gets us to its inevitable conclusion. I’m going to leave it there so that I do not spoil anyone.

Besides the unexpected twists, my favourite part of this book had to be the setting. The world was so atmospheric that even though the weather was warm and sunny the entire time I was reading this, I could almost feel the ocean winds and taste the saltwater. The level of detail given for the area’s history, especially when it comes to the prosecution of witches, was more in-depth than I usually expect from a YA book that is so short.

The characters of Evie and Annemette were interesting, complex and well developed. I particularily enjoyed their friendship dynamic and the struggles that Evie faces over Annemette’s reseblance to her childhood best-friend. Nik is such a sweetie, and while he doesn’t have much character development beyond that, I didn’t mind it (too much). I expected more romance going into this book, but honestly didn’t miss it. We do get a few romance-y scenes between certain characters, but this is by no means a romance book.

Overall, while the beginning of this book was very slow, which I think will put many readers off, the ending delivered a dark twist that I didn’t know I needed. If you are looking for a cute romance, be warned that this book is probably not what you want it to be. If, however, are open to being swept away on an eerie and tragic ride, then give this book a shot!

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