Sea Witch by Sarah HenningSea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch

bySarah Henning

Hardcover | July 31, 2018

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Wicked meets "The Little Mermaid" in the captivating origin story of the sea's most iconic villainess, perfect for fans of Heartless and Dorothy Must Die.

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

Title:Sea WitchFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.17 inPublished:July 31, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062438778

ISBN - 13:9780062438775


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Urusula/The Little Mermaid Retelling The Little Mermaid is my all time favorite Disney movie, and I'm always on the lookout for new mermaid reads. When I first discovered this one, and learned that not only is it a Little Mermaid retelling, but that it's Ursula's story, I was instantly intrigued. Unfortunately, after finishing it, I really went back and forth as to how I felt about it. On the one hand, I really enjoyed getting an in depth look into Urusla's story, and what drove her to become the villain she was. Was she truly as evil as we were always led to believe, or was there more to her story than first meets the eye? I'm happy that Sarah Henning chose to tackle this story idea, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations for it. First of all, the story does drag a bit to start out with, and I was having a bit of a hard time staying focused on what I was reading. Secondly, I thought some of the magic use was weird, and not described in a way that really made sense to the story. Thirdly, I wasn't a fan of Evie's romance that occurs throughout a large portion of the book as it really felt like instant love. Lastly, I sometimes found the writing style wasn't my favorite as it didn't really keep me engaged throughout the entire story, and instead the story was told in a way that most of the action doesn't occur until the last hundred pages or so. Now that being said, I did still really enjoy certain parts of this book. I loved the setting, it was vividly described, and I felt like I was right there experiencing it with the characters. For the most part I really enjoyed both Evie and Nik as characters, and the beautiful friendship they've managed to hold on to over the years despite societal norms. When the big plot twist happens, I was literally shook. I hadn't seen it coming at all, and I was quite impressed that the author was able to surprise me as much as she did. Lastly, I loved seeing that Sarah Henning gave the sea witch's story a background, and showcased that, at one time, she felt remorse and compassion over her difficult decisions. By the time I got to the epilogue, my heart was literally breaking for these characters, and the tough choices that have led them to become what they are now. Taking everything I liked and didn't like into consideration, I really went back and forth over whether to rate this three or four stars. In the end though, I decided to go with the lower rating, as I just wanted a bit more than it delivered, and found it to be a tad disappointing. Still a really enjoyable read though, and a fresh look at the beloved fairy tale. Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Date published: 2018-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Little mermaid retelling This is a little mermaid villain origin story. Really enjoyed it !
Date published: 2018-09-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enthrawlling Could not put this book down, vivid colourful and wildy questioning
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful retelling of how Ursula got her tentacles My thanks to Edelweiss, Katherine Teigen Books, Harper Collins Canada and Sarah Henning for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy. I fell in love with this story. There is nothing that I look forward to more than a good retelling of an old tale. And is there anything older than sea? This is the prequel to “The Little Mermaid” and tells the story of how the sea witch (dubbed Ursula in the Disney version) came to be. How wonderful, when an author can create an original backstory for a character that has always been one dimensional. How the villain became the villain. We get a chance to see the history of this character and discover what might have made them evil. It’s like looking through history with a different lens, you recognize the events but there is a new perspective. I recently read another one of these retellings about Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, but I enjoyed “Sea Witch” so much more. The story was far more entertaining, the arc more exciting, the characters more enticing and overall it was more delightful. The tale takes place in Denmark, when kings and queens ruled. Setting it in a land far away adds an extra layer of mystery and charm and introduces new customs and traditions to the reader. Told by Evelyn, the story focuses on three best friends who grow up in this small fishing village. Nik is a prince who will one day take over from his father. He is at the age where he must leave his childhood behind and learn to step into his new role. Evelyn comes from a poor family with no title. Her aunt saved the king’s life and that has given her family special status. It has allowed Evelyn to have a close relationship with Nik, despite their social status. This has caused people in town to think Evie is trying to rise above her station. Magic is forbidden and anyone practising witchcraft will be put to death. Evie can feel the magic pulsing in her and has been practising, in secret, testing out her new powers. Anna, a blond eyed beauty and a titled lady, begins to fall in love with Nik. One day while the three are hanging out there is an accident and Anna drowns. Evie feels responsible for Anna’s death and Nik tried to save Anna, but failed. Her death has had a huge impact on their lives. That is the backdrop and I don’t want to reveal any more because it might spoil the tale. Better to experience things as they unfold. There are all the usual tropes you would expect. A parent dies, a prince is in peril, a Queen disapproves, forbidden love, the temptation of magic, townspeople against a misunderstood girl, and mermaids, but in Henning’s hands it feels fresh and new. The suspense is created by sprinkling chapters throughout the main story that start four years prior. Each one of these chapters builds until it catches up in time to the story being told. There are strong female characters, with the men taking a back seat. But know that this is not a romance novel. The love stories are not developed. The entry point is that they are already established and you have to go with it. If you are expecting it to have a romantic build up where you fall in love with the couple as the story is taking place, this is not that story. It didn’t personally bother me but I know other people found this problematic. I just accepted that Evie loved Iker and didn’t really need the “falling in love” narrative. It is about friendship but Anna is dead from the beginning of the story so that leaves a major part under developed. We only get Evie’s perspective so we don’t really know how Anna felt about the threesome. The historical information is very detailed but hit and miss on accuracy. I was checking on Google and some stuff was factual and other stuff completely made up. Don’t use foreign words if they don’t mean anything - too confusing! I would have loved more magic interwoven in the story, or maybe just more prominent a role. The writing was good but I found that there were too many run on sentences, with flowery detail, that wasn’t relevant and didn’t add to the story in any significant way. In fact, it detracted from the story and it gave a more juvenile feel to the whole thing. I tended to skim over those parts because overall I was enjoying the story. Although I believe it can still be categorized as YA, I think older, more sophisticated readers won’t enjoy it as much. One thing I love to do as a teacher is to have kids step into the shoes of someone and try and see things from their perspectives. Get all the facts before you form your opinion. One of the best ways to do that is with a fairy tale. Give a voice to all the characters in the story that we really don’t know anything about. It can open up minds, create empathy and understanding. “Sea Witch” will be great fodder in my classroom!
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ursula Forever Another awesome villain origin story! A little bit of a slow burn, however the big reveal had me screaming expletives aloud because WHAAAAAATTTT?!?!?! So good, friends. The writing had a formal bend with intense visceral descriptions, to the point I swear I started to detect the scent of salt water amongst the corn fields that presently surround my house. The world building could've been stronger on the magic front, but I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of arguably my favourite villain.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Twist on a Classic Tale *I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest 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. 3.5/5
Date published: 2018-07-25

Editorial Reviews

“This spin on “The Little Mermaid” is full of plot twists and heart-in-throat action.
Fans of twisted fairy tales will find plenty to love.”