*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
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.
Review: If you’re familiar with The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson and you love fairy tales, then you’ll definitely love Sea Witch. It’s more of a spin on the original tale but it’s also the origin story for the villain. This story is heavily influenced by Danish culture and language, which is a nod to Hans Christian Anderson, and it was great because it ties it so well with the tale it’s inspired by.
Sea Witch starts off with three best friends: Evie, Anna, and Nik. It gives you background on the three and then cuts off on the day Anna drowns and skips forward. But in between, there’s a mystery POV, which is telling another story that connects to the main one later on. After a near-tragedy, Evie befriends a mysterious girl named Annemette and they instantly bond over their magic. When Evie learns her secret, she must do everything she can to help her. Annemette catches the eye of Nik instantly and falls for him hard and fast, but she can only stay if Evie finds a way to help her before time runs out.
Evie was such a complicated character because I don’t think she even knew what she wanted. She was also kind of naive because she didn’t think through her decisions or the consequences in regards to magic. I think she kind of underestimated herself a bit as well.
There were definitely some dark undertones in this story, which I was hoping for, considering it’s a villain origin story. But I think I wanted it to be darker somehow? It definitely took a dark turn near the end, and it was a twist I wasn’t really expecting. I love how magic is portrayed in this story as well and how there is a price for it. It’s not something to be taken for granted and there are definitely consequences.
I will say that I didn’t love how the romance played out. The relationships were definitely confusing for me and there is an awkward sort-of love triangle. Also, there was an obvious love between two characters and I found myself getting frustrated that it was one-sided. It was definitely distracting from the main plot for me.
This turned out to have a crazy revenge theme, and I will say that the end was kind of unexpected. There was definitely a strong turn near the end when the past collided head on with the present. Honestly, this is not exactly the story I was hoping for, but it was still an interesting read as I love how dark the original fairy tales are! A solid read for anyone who loves historical fantasy, retellings, and romance.