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Sea Witch

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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, t 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.


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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, t 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.

30 review for Sea Witch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips. 3 1/2 stars. I gave myself a bit of a headache trying to rate this book. Parts of it were 2 stars, other parts 4/4.5, so in the end I've settled on this. But I will say one thing: this book is probably not what you are expecting. I hope it can find the right readers. It's really a question of how much patience you have. And how easily you can sit through maritime chapters without falling asle The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips. 3 1/2 stars. I gave myself a bit of a headache trying to rate this book. Parts of it were 2 stars, other parts 4/4.5, so in the end I've settled on this. But I will say one thing: this book is probably not what you are expecting. I hope it can find the right readers. It's really a question of how much patience you have. And how easily you can sit through maritime chapters without falling asleep. It's a very slowly-paced book, especially during the first two thirds of the story. Any exciting witchy The Little Mermaid goodness you might be expecting happens in the later chapters, and even then it's pretty subdued. Though, in many ways, Sea Witch is much smarter than I expected for a YA The Little Mermaid retelling. The story is set in 19th Century Denmark and is woven with hundreds of years of Danish history. The Danes, especially under King Christian IV, put many "witches" to death in the 16th and 17th centuries. Henning combines this real fear of witches on land with the story of the sea witch we all know from the Andersen tale (and the Disney remake). There are many interesting aspects of what the author has done here. I love that so much of it is rooted in history; I love that I googled Øresund Kingdoms and discovered that the Øresund strait is a real thing. I love that it mentioned the infamous "witch" - Maren Spliid. The story is about three unlikely childhood friends - Nik (the prince), Anna (now deceased) and Evie (the half-Italian fisherman's daughter). In the present of the story, Nik's near-drowning results in him being saved by a mysterious girl who looks like Anna. She is the beautiful Annemette and Evie quickly befriends her, feeling drawn towards this stranger who looks so like her friend. Slowly drawn friendship and romantic dynamics lead toward magical secrets. Annemette is clearly not all she appears to be, but the depths of what she's hiding are indeed dark and full of terrors. This is all set to an atmospheric backdrop of salty air and sea breezes. Henning does a great job of infusing everything with a sea-like essence. Also, Nik is a delightful little sweetie. Rarely are male characters allowed to be such starry-eyed romantics and it was adorable, yet not unrealistic. Unfortunately, though, it really is slow. I actually wonder if I would have made it through if I hadn't committed to an arc, and I foresee many DNFs on the horizon. It's not a thrills and romance kind of book - it's a gentle wander through history, class divides and the unwarranted fear of witches. The occasional third person chapters also slow down the book. I think Sea Witch will work really well for the right sort of reader, but I think the majority of readers will pick this up expecting something it doesn't deliver. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I decided to make my own painted edges. They are not great, but I love them! I used purple to go with the purple in her eyes! Book & Poster Below A million stars for the cover and the poster I got in one of my book boxes and got laminated! I liked the story! I didn't love it to death as I'm not a big fan of The Little Mermaid. But who cares, it was good enough for now and I'm glad plenty love it 😊 Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐺🐾

  3. 4 out of 5

    Korrina (OwlCrate)

    I wasn’t sure about this when I first started reading it, but I’m so glad I carried on! Around the 40pg mark, I became hooked on the plot. It ended up being hard to put down. Very unique take on the classic story of The Little Mermaid. I think people are going to enjoy this one!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    5 Stars! She knew that with power, the bravery to act would come. I'm just going to say I hoped and prayed this was going to be good. Ever since I read To Kill a Kingdom I was hook line and sinker for any form of a re-telling of The Little Mermaid. I say that but this is the first one I've read since then. Anyway I'm going to be frank, this is a real slow burn, but I loved that. It really builds up to what is coming. You get the back story of a specific day in the past and it goes backwards and fo 5 Stars! She knew that with power, the bravery to act would come. I'm just going to say I hoped and prayed this was going to be good. Ever since I read To Kill a Kingdom I was hook line and sinker for any form of a re-telling of The Little Mermaid. I say that but this is the first one I've read since then. Anyway I'm going to be frank, this is a real slow burn, but I loved that. It really builds up to what is coming. You get the back story of a specific day in the past and it goes backwards and forwards in time. As previously mentioned, the build up for me was glorious, it had me second guessing everything, trying to dissect certain things, now I'm not saying that I didn't see some things coming, because I did however in the last few chapters it was just blindside after blindside it was incredible. I kept think surely this isn't happening, but that's what was so good about it. Characters So we have Evie and Nik to start with. They are two best friends, one is a high born Prince and the other is a fisherman's daughter who isn't seen as worthy to be friends with a Prince. I really really enjoyed the friendship between the two of them all though at times you could see it become a little strained. It was really interesting to see Evie learn certain things and she always tries to do things to help the people she cares for. Evie has a tough time with the place she lives and this is where Nik comes in. His protectiveness for Evie made me love him even more! I just couldn't cope with it. I'm sorry to gush, but I can't help it. Then we have Iker and Annemette I honestly couldn't figure either one out. I was questioning them both throughout for different reasons. That being said I did enjoy their characters because it brought more to the story especially seeing things from the characters POVs. What I liked? - Tante Hansa, I wish we'd seen more of her, but what I did see I was all for - The magic system was interesting, especially later on what things came together - Witches and Mermaids - The back stories, I lived - The loyalty they have for each other! - All of the little nods towards The Little Mermaid - Literally loved the Epilogue, it was so interesting Overall I really really enjoyed this book, I actually think it's a miracle because normally when I'm super hyped for a book it falls flat, but luckily for me I enjoyed it! I know not everyone can be a fan, but if you can deal with slow (but building) pacing for an epic ending, I'd suggest this. ------------ So your girl didn't get an Arc... BUT THIS WAS INCREDIBLE! Like holy fuck those last few chapters, I can't even cope. HOPEFULLY full rtc, cause I've been reading to try and finish because I needed to know everything! ------------ Never wanted Netgalley to approve an ARC so much :)) Probably won't because I have a million other books, but I'm requesting it. May the odds be ever in my favour! #prayforbethtogetanarc

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    You can find this review and other non-spoilery reviews @ The Book Prescription Actual Rating: 3.5 stars “IT’S A PERFECT NIGHT FOR BURNING WITCHES.” 🌟 I learned to go into books without high expectations because the end result will be better whatever it is. But The little mermaid retelling? I am lying if I say that I didn’t raise up the bar a bit! 🌟 I recently read To kill a kingdom and that book was very good, it is getting much attention and for The little mermaid fans, it is actually a very good You can find this review and other non-spoilery reviews @ The Book Prescription Actual Rating: 3.5 stars “IT’S A PERFECT NIGHT FOR BURNING WITCHES.” 🌟 I learned to go into books without high expectations because the end result will be better whatever it is. But The little mermaid retelling? I am lying if I say that I didn’t raise up the bar a bit! 🌟 I recently read To kill a kingdom and that book was very good, it is getting much attention and for The little mermaid fans, it is actually a very good retelling! Now I don’t know if this can be called a retelling because that was only found after like 80% of the story. Actually this was the biggest problem in this series: nothing pretty much happens till 70% of the story. Now this is not a bad book, but it starts out good and then things start to get slow and there is dragging till the above mentioned part! I can see why people won’t be motivated to continue this in early parts, so if you want the good parts in this book, you have to be tolerant/patient. 🌟 The writing style is good. Not so special but it held my attention enough to make me finish this. There were a few quotes that I like too. “My father, the sea king, says that when everything is as you hoped, you are blind to the imperfections.” 🌟 The characters are well-written. Once again, nothing too special and by that I mean I didn’t add them to a favorite list or any list in mind, I believe they are the kind that is good but won’t stick with me for a long time. 🌟 Summary: There are many Mermaids stories now and they are increasing too. Sea witch is not the best one of them, but it is a good story if you wait enough. The last 20-30% made me happy. There were literal quotes from the Little mermaid movie, I know some scenes by heart and that’s why I got excited reading them. The majority of the book is 3 stars for me, the final parts were 4 and 5 stars. So the final Rating from me will be 3.5 stars! ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Buddy Reading this with Queen Of ARCs

  6. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    this was just....not good. reasons why this book did not work for me: -there was no plot up until the last 50ish pages -the characters were flat with zero development -the two male characters were completely interchangeable -the romances were the worst cases of insta love I've ever seen -when the plot finally picked up all the characters became different people out of nowhere overall this book was just flat out boring

  7. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    “Magic was barter—the right words, actions, potions for the right result.” Well, that was... unexpected. Sea Witch is marketed as a villain origin story, namely the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. Being the weird kid in the murder corner, I eagerly requested on Edelweiss, thinking it'd be a dark and transgressive retelling along the lines of Marissa Meyer's Heartless or Fairest. What I got instead was a quiet, rather literary novel about friendship and social class. The story does largely unf “Magic was barter—the right words, actions, potions for the right result.” Well, that was... unexpected. Sea Witch is marketed as a villain origin story, namely the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. Being the weird kid in the murder corner, I eagerly requested on Edelweiss, thinking it'd be a dark and transgressive retelling along the lines of Marissa Meyer's Heartless or Fairest. What I got instead was a quiet, rather literary novel about friendship and social class. The story does largely unfold the same way as the original tale: a mermaid saves a prince, then goes on land to try to win his heart in four days. If she fails, she'll be turned to sea form. A human witch called Evelyn narrates the novel, with third-person chapters recounting the past. The mermaid Annamette bears a striking resemblance to Evelyn's best friend who drowned four years ago and she naturally wants to persevere Annamette's life. Honestly, Sea Witch didn't start getting interesting until the 60% mark, when a twist kicks things into high gear. The writing doesn't help either. It's difficult to explain, but it tries too hard in places, plugging descriptives when they're unnecessary and weigh down a sentence. Most of the novel has a small-town atmosphere, focusing on Evelyn's struggle with her low birth and her friendship with the prince Nik. There are also lots of insights into Danish history and culture, the country The Little Mermaid originated from. Sea Witch will appeal to a certain kind of reader, but it failed to hook me in. (Fish pun intended) ARC provided by Edelweiss

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    ♦ Video Review ♦ Sea Witch is one of those books that grew on me more and more with every page that I read. I started it with excitement because I love The Little Mermaid and Ursula as a villain but also some hesitation because villain origin stories can be repetitive and unoriginal. But what I got out of Sea Witch was incredibly special! "I could tell her that it's like the tang of summer wine and the sound of arrival bells as a new ship docks. Like the scent of salt and limes and the tinkle o ♦ Video Review ♦ Sea Witch is one of those books that grew on me more and more with every page that I read. I started it with excitement because I love The Little Mermaid and Ursula as a villain but also some hesitation because villain origin stories can be repetitive and unoriginal. But what I got out of Sea Witch was incredibly special! "I could tell her that it's like the tang of summer wine and the sound of arrival bells as a new ship docks. Like the scent of salt and limes and the tinkle of a boy's eyes just before a kiss in the moonlight." This is also one of those books that I have a super hard time doing a review for because it's one that just took my heart by storm. I have a huge emotional connection to it that is hard to put into words. Not just that, it did exactly what I wanted from a villain origin story. It had some twists and turns and unexpected revelations and in general felt very original. In my personal opinion it didn't go the well-known paths that millions of authors have gone before. But obviously with retellings or villain origin stories it always depends a little bit on the picture you have of the fairytale or villain. These can be hit or miss solely on the fact that this author's portrayal of a character simply doesn't fit what you imagine that character to be. So it's hard for me to wholeheartedly recommend this, I just know that I truly loved this and I keep thinking about this story and its characters, days after finishing. It's also hard to talk about my expectations and how well they were fulfilled without going into spoiler territory or ruining your reading experience. As I said, I was impressed by this because I thought it went a different route than one might expect from an origin story like this. I think it is an amazing ability to write a story where everybody already knows the ending but constantly have you question how we will get there and what will tip this story over. I had huge hopes for how this would turn out but I was still questioning everything until the very end. "I return to my lair, the new silence ringing in my ears. Somehow, it's more painful than before. As if hearing a new voice, regaining the shortest moment of humanity, has torn open the wound that is my loneliness." But as I said, not only did it completely meet my expectations, it was first and foremost a book that I was emotionally invested in from the very beginning. And it broke my heart. I could already tell after the first third that this would shatter my heart into pieces, long before I knew how. And there's not a lot of books that can do that so effortlessly. I know this is not my most conclusive review but it's probably one of the most sincere ones I've ever written. Because while I like all the aspect of this book and I could tell you how great the characters are or how much I liked the setting, I simply fell in love with this book. And there's not always a way to explain why. ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦ I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!

  9. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This story just shoved me off the edge of Plot Twist cliff and I'm still falling tbh. It was thoroughly not what I expected and the beginning had me slowly drowning...but that ending. THAT ENDING. The plot twists! The vengeance! The magic! The stabbing! It was so freaking good! → I do admit I chaffed at the beginning. Like I went in expecting a sea witch origin story, but we get Evie, who is the actual sweetest Hufflepuff witch...she's a mistrusted outcast, but also BFF with the crown prince. (Th This story just shoved me off the edge of Plot Twist cliff and I'm still falling tbh. It was thoroughly not what I expected and the beginning had me slowly drowning...but that ending. THAT ENDING. The plot twists! The vengeance! The magic! The stabbing! It was so freaking good! → I do admit I chaffed at the beginning. Like I went in expecting a sea witch origin story, but we get Evie, who is the actual sweetest Hufflepuff witch...she's a mistrusted outcast, but also BFF with the crown prince. (They're just friiiiends tho...yes. I have heard that one before.) And then the story unravelled this slow romance-centric plot, where mostly they just talked and participated in a festival and had a love-square that was very polite. ....then things went down. → Obviously I won't spoil the ending but OMG and YES. Seriously the last 100 pages were epic and I wish the beginning had captivated me as much, but at the same time?? I understand it had to build up to it? I just was a little bored lmao I am so sorry. → Love square? Do I see thee? Basically we have four main characters: Evie (fisherman's daughter and nobody and secret witch) and Nik (crown prince and BFF of Evie) and Iver (Nik's cousin, also a prince, somehow a whaler?? but apparently a player), and lastly Annamette who is a mermaid turned human and must win Nik's love or pERISH...she also resembles their dead friend Anna who drowned 4 years ago, but Annamette is a mermaid. Like dude, I ship them all with each other though. Except the princes, they are cousins. But Evie/Anna had an epic "hey if the prince things doesn't work I'LL DO ANYTHING TO SAVE YOU" thing going on that was amazing. And Nik/Evie are like "yeah we're just friends" (me @ laughing hysterically in the background) while Iver/Evie are kissing in the garden and she's swooning for him. Usually love square irritate me, but I really enjoyed this one. It had TWISTS too, which was epic. Although Nik was about as dynamic as pebble, but he was a sweetie?? And Iver (view spoiler)[ turned out to be a slimy sNAKE but I'm not even surprised. I kind of didn't like him the whole time??? But hOLY SHIT Anna suddenly turning into a stabby revenge machine was BRILLIANT and I love it. Even if I still lowkey ship her and Evie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (hide spoiler)] . → So basically plot twists GALORE and a fascinating cast! Even though the beginning really didn't do anything for me. I'm just so pleased by the direction it turned mwhahaha.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mikee Andrea (ReadWithMikee)

    I was really torn about this book. I didn’t LOVE it but it kept me entertained and intrigued enough to push through until the end. It was the last hundred pages or so that really made this book great. Besides that, it probably would’ve been a solid 2/5 stars for me. I am a HUGE mermaid fan. I love everything and anything mermaid and The Little Mermaid is and always will be my favorite fairytale. That being said, my expectations were very high considering I haven’t actually read a mermaid book tha I was really torn about this book. I didn’t LOVE it but it kept me entertained and intrigued enough to push through until the end. It was the last hundred pages or so that really made this book great. Besides that, it probably would’ve been a solid 2/5 stars for me. I am a HUGE mermaid fan. I love everything and anything mermaid and The Little Mermaid is and always will be my favorite fairytale. That being said, my expectations were very high considering I haven’t actually read a mermaid book that I loved and The Little Mermaid deserved a retelling nothing short of perfection. Though Sea Witch didn’t reach those expectations, I did find myself enjoying this origin story of the infamous Ursula. The overall story itself moved a bit slow and I never really connected with the characters. To be completely honest, I didn’t really like the book at all until we got to the last hundred pages because that’s where everything started to click together. Once we got to those last few chapters, I couldn’t put the book down and I was on my toes the whole time just speed reading to see what would happen next. Though I was never attached to the characters, the epilogue did tug on my heartstrings and my heart ached for the characters. It is an Ursula retelling so you can only imagine how the story ends and if it ends in a happily ever after. 😌 All in all, I didn’t love this book too much but it was definitely a creative retelling of Ursula’s origins. The book wasn’t my cup of tea but I can see many readers enjoying this one especially if you love a good sea tale (or should I say TAIL) like me. 😊

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alana • thebookishchick

    I was so excited for this book and it turned out to be a major bummer. The Little Mermaid was my jam back in the day (it still is, if we're being honest), so imagine my excitement when I found out that 2018 would bring me not one, but TWO Little Mermaid retellings. Psyched isn't even the word. Unfortunately, this fell short for me in so many places. This review is definitely going to be on the shorter side because I just really don't want to rehash all the disappointment I felt while reading thi I was so excited for this book and it turned out to be a major bummer. The Little Mermaid was my jam back in the day (it still is, if we're being honest), so imagine my excitement when I found out that 2018 would bring me not one, but TWO Little Mermaid retellings. Psyched isn't even the word. Unfortunately, this fell short for me in so many places. This review is definitely going to be on the shorter side because I just really don't want to rehash all the disappointment I felt while reading this. The plot, first of all, was so incredibly boooooooo-ring. The story only really started getting good within the last 50 or so pages. And even then it was painfully predictable. Luckily for me, I was listening to the audiobook and was able to fly through it since I listened at double the normal speed. Otherwise this would have taken me weeks to get through because I just was not invested in the story plot-wise and it just became too redundant for me until the action started picking up. As far as characters go, they were forgettable at best and that's mainly because we weren't given any real reasons to like them. The story focuses more on the characters backstories, and while the were necessary to the story, they didn't really provide any development either. I could honestly care less who lived or who died. The love interests in the story just felt like a filler more than anything else. The romance was just so BLAHHHH. EVERYTHING WAS JUST SO BLAND. Last but not least, the VERY end of this book. Just why? It wasn't really necessary, and now it just opened other doors for no reason. Not a fan, my friends. I would have been much happier if the book ended the way it was going to before we had one more plot twist thrown our way. Favorite Quotes “Perhaps fantasties are only meant to come true for a moment.” “Don't grant all the prince's requests, darling girl. Men are always asking for more than they should.” Overall, I really wasn't expecting to be this let down by one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. If you like retellings and The Little Mermaid then by all means give it a shot, it just wasn't for me. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  12. 4 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Thank you Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen books for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. "The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips." Urusla is possibly one of my favorite villains, and finding out that this was a Little Mermaid/Ursula retelling just got me extra excited to get my hands on this book. The start of this book seemed interesting. I’m not the kind of person who gets bored easily when it co Thank you Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen books for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. "The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips." Urusla is possibly one of my favorite villains, and finding out that this was a Little Mermaid/Ursula retelling just got me extra excited to get my hands on this book. The start of this book seemed interesting. I’m not the kind of person who gets bored easily when it comes to books even if the beginning is boring. There were ofcourse interesting bits in between, but it felt quite dragged. I felt like the excitement showed up after going through 70% of the book. I guessed a few things while reading, and being right actually made me a bit upset because I really wanted to love the book. I thought that would be the end of the plot twists, but I was happy to find out that I hadn't guessed them all. The last few chapters were pretty good. I was surprised with what happened at the end, and I admit that it kept me thinking even after I finished the book. “My father, the sea king, says that when everything is as you hoped, you are blind to the imperfections.” Overall, I really liked this book. I felt that the story was unique and that it was nicely written. A new and different twist to a beloved story. || Blog || Instagram ||

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Sea Witch follows the story of Evie, a twelve year old girl drawn to the dark powers of the sea after the tragic drowning of her best friend Anna. We follow Evie on her journey from girl to young woman, wrapped up in the exploits of her two love interests, as she meets a mysterious young woman by the shore who looks just like her former best friend, and becomes determined to make amends for the past. There’s no denying this is I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Sea Witch follows the story of Evie, a twelve year old girl drawn to the dark powers of the sea after the tragic drowning of her best friend Anna. We follow Evie on her journey from girl to young woman, wrapped up in the exploits of her two love interests, as she meets a mysterious young woman by the shore who looks just like her former best friend, and becomes determined to make amends for the past. There’s no denying this is a clever book for the right audience. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me, and I’m torn between a two and three star rating because it’s rather difficult to pinpoint what exactly I didn’t really enjoy. I think it was mainly that my expectations going in weren't really met. I wanted a magical fantasy retelling, filled with mermaids, but instead I got a lot of maritime history, dotted with historical atttudes towards witches in a Dutch setting and instalove. It’s a very slow paced plot and I really struggled to get past the more mundane descriptions with little to no plot development. It’s only really in the last chapters that things really start to ramp up and get suitably dark and intense. If I went in beforehand knowing this, I might have enjoyed it more as generally I do like historical novels, and usually don’t mind a slower pace if things develop well over time. I also didn’t enjoy the love interests at all. Aside from the opening chapter which briefly explores their initial relationship, we’re given no real insight into why Nik in particular is so obsessed with Evie. He sometimes borders on overly simpering, and I did find it a little irritating - especially as it clashed with Evie and Anna’s more assertive personalities. In fact, for most of the novel, both male characters feel more like filler than actively adding anything to the plot. In comparison, I found Evie and ‘Anna’ both dynamic and interesting characters and would have loved to have seen some more in-depth character development on them both as their potential to really shine here was evident. Evie and her powers, inherited from her mother, really stand out in particular as a strong point. I just wish she wasn’t so infatuated with Iker and Nik. I also found the writing style a little convoluted at times, with too many descriptions that made the story hard to follow easily. It was hard to keep my attention at times. I really do feel that if I’d gone into this knowing what I was expecting, I would have liked this more. I think it would have been better marketed as more of a historical novel with some magical elements later on as opposed to a YA fantasy. I hope it finds the right readers who can really appreciate the historical details that have obvious been added with great care and research.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    I really liked this! I don't read many retellings anymore, and especially not many about mermaids so I don't have much to compare this to though. It did take me a few chapters to get into - until we actually meet a mermaid. A lot of it did feel predictable, especially considering the title, but it played well with elements from the original Hans Christian Andersen tale and the Disney movie, and overall I did enjoy myself. TW: drowning/near drowning

  15. 4 out of 5

    noor

    pre read: wait- you mean a story about my fAVORITE VILLAIN ON THIS EARTH, URSULA? someone find a pen and sign me the fuck uP (pleasepleaseplease let this be everything I'm hoping for rn) aug.19: okay, im here. we’re about to read this. It sounds extremely soul crushing, so I’ve been delaying this read, but we’re finally going to do it. post-read: wow. Someone please remind me to never read a retelling of a fairy tale if the ending ends up sad. I never want to deal with this pain again

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An origin story for The Little Mermaid’s villain Ursula? Yes, please! I can’t help but have a special place in my heart for Ursula because that’s what I was almost named. Of course, the famous Disney movie came out in ‘89, and in the classic tale, the sea witch did not have a name. So the urge to name me Ursula was purely a German thing and thankfully it wasn’t my name because in elementary school, kids would’ve had a field day with this. Anyway..the name Ursula isn’t actually present in the sto An origin story for The Little Mermaid’s villain Ursula? Yes, please! I can’t help but have a special place in my heart for Ursula because that’s what I was almost named. Of course, the famous Disney movie came out in ‘89, and in the classic tale, the sea witch did not have a name. So the urge to name me Ursula was purely a German thing and thankfully it wasn’t my name because in elementary school, kids would’ve had a field day with this. Anyway..the name Ursula isn’t actually present in the story, but it is her origin story. At times the story feels soooo slow, while at others it’s enchanting. What’s brilliant about the book is the real life Danish history blended into the story. This isn’t something I expected and it even went over my head at first while I was reading. The second I realized what was happening, I had google up and couldn’t stop. Evie, Nik, and Anna are best friends. Evie is poor, while Nik is prince and Anna is a baron’s daughter. One day while playing by the water, Anna drowns. It’s been four years. Evie is an outcast who still struggles with the loss of Anna. She also is a human witch with magic she doesn’t understand. She still hangs out with Nik and is in love with his cousin Iker. One day, a girl rescues Nik from drowning after he falls off his boat. Evie sees her on the shore with Nik and notices a tail. A few days later, a mysterious girl shows up with a striking resemblance to both the girl Evie saw on the shore the other day…and her friend she lost four years ago, Anna. This girl has legs and is called Annemette. Who is she and why is she here? What secrets is she keeping? The beginning of the book is very slow. The pace picks up closer to the end. The romance is off-putting for me, but only because of where things went at the end. We’re led to believe one thing that goes a completely different way and it just confuses me? Other than that, it was fine throughout the story. It works in this plot up to a certain point. This one could’ve been better, but it was a solid origin story for the sea witch. I just wish it hadn’t been so slow at times.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Wow this book, I'm trying to form more words to express my love for this book but I'm just at awe that I can't form any at the moment. I highly recommend this one. And I'll most definitely reread it soon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    When I saw that this was Ursula's story before The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to request it (I also ordered a book box with it).  I love anything with mermaids and The Little Mermaid is a favorite. This book really surprised me.  I'm not sure what I really expected, but I really liked this one a lot. Evie is a poor girl with two best friends above her class.  Anna and Nik.  Nik is a prince and really shouldn't be playing with Evie, but his father made an exception because Evie's aunt has healed When I saw that this was Ursula's story before The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to request it (I also ordered a book box with it).  I love anything with mermaids and The Little Mermaid is a favorite. This book really surprised me.  I'm not sure what I really expected, but I really liked this one a lot. Evie is a poor girl with two best friends above her class.  Anna and Nik.  Nik is a prince and really shouldn't be playing with Evie, but his father made an exception because Evie's aunt has healed him multiple times.  Evie and Anna race in the water one day and both start to drown.  Nik goes into the water and saves Evie, but Anna doesn't survive. Evie is a witch and she tried to cast a spell for Anna.  She had to hide it because magic isn't used.  Witches are killed, so she and her aunt hide their powers.  Evie has a hard time after Anna's death, but she finally starts enjoying life again.  She still hangs out with Nik and is also somewhat in love with his cousin, Iker.  Evie uses her magic for the fisherman's boats so that they have good catches.  But she doesn't have a lot of understanding of her magic.   While out on a boat celebrating Nik's birthday, there is a storm and Nik goes overboard.  Evie finds him washed up on the shore with a girl singing to him.  She sees Evie and leaves, but not before Evie sees her tail.  Mermaids were supposed to be myths.  Their stories were used to scare children.  None of the tales were positive except that they sometimes helped save men in the sea.  Other than that, they were considered evil. The girl appears later with legs.  This girl looks exactly like Anna, but says her name is Annemette.  Annemette has powerful magic and admits to Evie that she's a mermaid, but not her lost friend, Anna.  Annemette fell in love with Nik and has four days to get him to love her back. Throughout the story, we get chapters from the past.  They start with the accident and then the story continues to now.   These are the parts that we learn more about what happened to Anna and also how Annemette came to land. This story did have the mermaid and magic, but it really focused on friendship, love, and revenge.  I knew things wouldn't have a happy ending, but it didn't stop me from hoping while the story unfolded.  I enjoyed the writing, too.  It was a little slow at times, but I couldn't put it down for the last third of the book. I gave this one 4  1/2 stars (rounded up to 5).  Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for giving me a copy for review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is a young adult fantasy that is loosely based on The Little Mermaid. Being a fan of retellings and new takes on the stories I love this take on the origins of Ursula was right up my alley. Evie is the daughter of a fisherman but not just any fisherman but the fisherman for the royal family. So while Evie was not upper class herself she had grown up with the royal children and became best friends with Nik, the prince. Nik and Evie had lost another good friend of theirs, Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is a young adult fantasy that is loosely based on The Little Mermaid. Being a fan of retellings and new takes on the stories I love this take on the origins of Ursula was right up my alley. Evie is the daughter of a fisherman but not just any fisherman but the fisherman for the royal family. So while Evie was not upper class herself she had grown up with the royal children and became best friends with Nik, the prince. Nik and Evie had lost another good friend of theirs, Anna to the sea when they were younger. As Evie, Nik and his cousin are out on a boat celebrating Nik’s birthday a storm hits the group and as they make a run for shore Nik falls overboard. Unable to help her best friend distraught Evie gets the boat to shore and begins the search for Nik where she finds him with a mermaid who looks just like Anna. While I did enjoy reading Sea Witch and the authors take on Ursula and The Little Mermaid I did think this one had a few issues. The story seem to move rather slowly during the middle of the book with the end feeling a bit rushed after the slower pace. And I also thought this one was a tad predictable for some of the events in the story but overall it was a creative take on these characters that I would rate at 3.5 stars. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Camila Roy ••RoyIsReading••

    RATING: 2/5 e-ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review DNF-ed at 37% :( 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 offshore, 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 her new friend harbors secrets of her own. RATING: 2/5 e-ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review DNF-ed at 37% :( 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 offshore, 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 her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, without Evie’s help. But 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. I detest DNF-ing books but sometimes it is the only way to go. I was at risk of entering a reading slump if I continued. The beginning was okay but after the initial impression, time seemed to stop. The pacing was very slow, to the point where I lost interest. After several days of trying to engage with the world and the characters, I realized the book wasn't worth the stress. I didn't care enough to pull through, so I decided to quit. It seems pointless to try to review only a third part of the book. All I'm going to say is that, even though I didn't enjoy it, others might. The premise sounds promising and, in another time, I would have managed to make it to the end and appreciate the story to the fullest extent.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    First I have to mention that this is the most beautiful and mesmerizing cover ever!!! I really loved this, it was just the right book at just the right time and I couldn't seem to put it down! Full review can be found on my blog, here. Blog | Bookstagram | Instagram | Twitter

  22. 5 out of 5

    ✨ elsa ✨

    Buddy Read with the loveliest Hamad. ----------------------------------------- DNF @ 39% Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an advanced reader's copy of Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. All opinions are my own and as honest as they can be. "The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips." This book is just a whole mess. I have been anticipating to read it since it was announced, and I just had to have it because it was a Little Merm Buddy Read with the loveliest Hamad. ----------------------------------------- DNF @ 39% Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an advanced reader's copy of Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. All opinions are my own and as honest as they can be. "The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips." This book is just a whole mess. I have been anticipating to read it since it was announced, and I just had to have it because it was a Little Mermaid retelling. Well, guess what? The only things that are close to it are that this book is set in Denmark and it has sea involved in it. First off, let's start with the characters. I found there were little-to-no evolving characters right at this point and if it kept going I could swear there is no evolution in them. They were so plain to the point where none of them were either relatable or even realistic. The plot was just a mess. I didn't get any of it. I thought it was just a disordered series of events that happened to the characters instead of one whole arc. The timeline was just weird and the whole thing in general just confused me. One of the really few things that I actually like was the writing style, I feel like it wrapped around you. But it wasn't enough to get me into the magic of the actual plot and book. All in all, I wouldn't really recommend this book going with too many expectations, especially if you think you're getting into a Little Mermaid retelling. I look forward, however, to whatever book Sarah Henning writes in the next years. I think if she can actually learn from some of her mistakes, she will make a fantastic novel. Her writing style, as mentioned above, is magnificent and I can't wait to see what's next.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Giselle

    So this is from Ursula's POV, but who cares?! Villains are so much more interesting than heroes anyway.. Kidding :P

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anissa (FairyLoot)

    What a great read! I really enjoyed this.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    3.5 Stars. There were parts that were really beautifully written, but they were so good they seemed to highlight how unhappy I was with the parts that dragged on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)

    Borrowed a copy from my local library! I'm not going to lie, I was left feeling quite disappointed by the end of Sea witch. I absolutely love retellings and The Little Mermaid is something I grew up with as a child. But ultimately, the constant switching back and forth between the past and the present day left me confused and a lack of connection with Evie and Anna as characters. In this novel, the main character Evie is a witch but must hide her true identity, which is tricky since she is friend Borrowed a copy from my local library! I'm not going to lie, I was left feeling quite disappointed by the end of Sea witch. I absolutely love retellings and The Little Mermaid is something I grew up with as a child. But ultimately, the constant switching back and forth between the past and the present day left me confused and a lack of connection with Evie and Anna as characters. In this novel, the main character Evie is a witch but must hide her true identity, which is tricky since she is friends with Nik, the heir to the throne. In a twist of fate, a mermaid arrives out of the sea and Evie senses that she needs help. But her decision to do so may change everything forever. I struggled to visualize the scenes and characters. As someone who reads, writes and learns visually, this was sadly not a good thing and made my reading less enjoyable. I found the ending to be quite rushed. I read another Ursula reimagine earlier on in the year and loved the writing style. The dialogue I did enjoy with Sea Witch but like a calm sea with no breeze, it fell very flat for me overall.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    OMG A VILLAIN ORIGIN STORY ABOUT URSULA!! **I received an ARC from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for honest review** First things first, Ursula is one of my fave Disney villains so I knew I needed this book in my life! This is a unique take on the little mermaid with a rich story of loss,friendship, love and of course revenge. I found the beginning a bit slow but after the first half the pace really picks up. I am a big fan of morally grey characters and that is one of the reasons I love villa OMG A VILLAIN ORIGIN STORY ABOUT URSULA!! **I received an ARC from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for honest review** First things first, Ursula is one of my fave Disney villains so I knew I needed this book in my life! This is a unique take on the little mermaid with a rich story of loss,friendship, love and of course revenge. I found the beginning a bit slow but after the first half the pace really picks up. I am a big fan of morally grey characters and that is one of the reasons I love villain origin stories so much and I thought it was very interesting to see how this normal, level-headed girl could become the villain of the story! I have a video review up on my Booktube channel for those interested ! ( https://youtu.be/S8Q1d-VuytI )

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    "That little witch will be the death of you if you're not careful." First 2/3: 1.5 stars Last 1/3: 4 stars A very, VERY slow start to what is eventually a good book. Sea Witch was not what I was expecting. And chances are it's not what you're expecting either. The synopsis promises an Ursula retelling / origin story / mermaid tale, and it's not wrong. But at the same time it's a rich historical tale, focusing on love, friendship, secrets, the ocean, and some magic. You'll technically get mermaids, "That little witch will be the death of you if you're not careful." First 2/3: 1.5 stars Last 1/3: 4 stars A very, VERY slow start to what is eventually a good book. Sea Witch was not what I was expecting. And chances are it's not what you're expecting either. The synopsis promises an Ursula retelling / origin story / mermaid tale, and it's not wrong. But at the same time it's a rich historical tale, focusing on love, friendship, secrets, the ocean, and some magic. You'll technically get mermaids, but if you are expecting to spend 100% of the book under the sea, you'll be bummed for sure. So, speaking of history I'd argue that one of Sea Witch's strongest attributes is the great job it does with Danish history! Granted, I know exactly a thimbles worth about Denmark, but it all feels authentic and well thought out. Especially the fishing community and the importance of the sea to the people of Havnestad. "No magic can trick her. No words can ply her. No will can sway her. She is queen, and we are simply her subjects." And the sea is basically another character, as well as the sea goddess Urda. You have the shy prince Nik, the mysterious mermaid Annemette, the playboy Iker, and the outcast witch Evie. But they are all nothing without the constant presence of the sea to tie them together. The characters are sort of a mixed bag. It's clear from the very beginning that Annemette is lying. The who and what and why of it is a complicated bag o' spoilers. Some of them are easily sussed out, and some are hidden deep. I liked some of the twists of Evie's character. Her feelings of isolation and ostracization made her relateable, if not especially interesting. Unfortunately, Nik was a snore. I mean, he's a sweetheart, but a boring sweetheart. And speaking of boring - I foresee a LOT of DNFs for this one. The first 2/3 of Sea Witch is desperately slow. And I can't call it bad. But just nothing happens. It's a lot of quiet relationship developing and historical festival mumbo-jumbo. And I can't say it didn't pay off later, because most of it did. But getting there was such a slog. And just because I liked how it all came together, doesn't make me like the previous chapters any better. Then you have the epilogue, which I suspect most people will like. But personally, I found it unnecessary. I'm planning on keeping this review spoiler free, so I'll just keep it vague and say that most of what was included could have been inferred. Ending with the last chapter would have been a stronger final note. She knew they'd be there - always acting like heroes. Except when it came to her. Their bravery had a limit. And she would make them suffer. Sea Witch taps into a rich mythological history to weave a creative tale. An exciting finish makes sure the story goes out with a bang, but unfortunately the story crawls at a snail's pace to get there. Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for the drc. Quotations are taken from proof copy and are subject to change prior to publication

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    OMFG, that synopsis!!! I haven't even read the book yet and I can already feel the heartbreak to come. And though I am never a fan of cover/character models, I don't terribly mind this one. I think it fits well. But anyways back to the synopsis, I'm crying already. --- October 2017 --> May 2018 --> July 2018 Ugh... --- Wait, this went from October 2017 to May 2018? OMG why!!!? --- While I am happy the title is no longer Heartless (so as not to be confused with the Marissa Meyer book coming out OMFG, that synopsis!!! I haven't even read the book yet and I can already feel the heartbreak to come. And though I am never a fan of cover/character models, I don't terribly mind this one. I think it fits well. But anyways back to the synopsis, I'm crying already. --- October 2017 --> May 2018 --> July 2018 Ugh... --- Wait, this went from October 2017 to May 2018? OMG why!!!? --- While I am happy the title is no longer Heartless (so as not to be confused with the Marissa Meyer book coming out this year), I feel the title Sea Witch is just a bit...lackluster? On the nose? Idk but I hope the official title gets changed again prior to publication

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Henning

    I absolutely loved writing this book and I hope all of you enjoy it as well! I've been blown away by the amount of support this book has received from booksellers (ABA Indies Introduce!) and early readers—I really couldn't ask for more. That said, I wanted to give a little something back to you darling readers, so please see the space below for preorder prize pack details and a list of my Sea Witch-related events. XOXO, Sarah Preorder: Everyone who sends an email to seawitchpreorder@gmail.com by end I absolutely loved writing this book and I hope all of you enjoy it as well! I've been blown away by the amount of support this book has received from booksellers (ABA Indies Introduce!) and early readers—I really couldn't ask for more. That said, I wanted to give a little something back to you darling readers, so please see the space below for preorder prize pack details and a list of my Sea Witch-related events. XOXO, Sarah Preorder: Everyone who sends an email to seawitchpreorder@gmail.com by end of day July 31st will receive a Sea Witch postcard and signed bookplate. In addition, you’ll be entered to win the grand prize Sea Witch pack, which includes: 1. A signed final copy of Sea Witch 2. Tarte Be a Mermaid Makeup Palette 3. Pearl necklace (a la the one in the book) 4. Octopus ring 5. Set of pencils and journal 6. Sea Witch candle Check my Instagram (@shhenning) to see each piece up close! (International and book box orders OK) Good luck! Events: Saturday, July 14, 2 p.m.: Debut Authors Panel with Megan Bannen, Gloria Chao & Jessica Pennington at the Sulzer Regional Library, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, July 31, 7 p.m.: Sea Witch Launch Party—in conversation with Renée Ahdieh at The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kansas. Wednesday, August 1, 6 p.m.: In conversation with Bree Barton and Zoraida Cordova at Books of Wonder, New York. Friday, August 3, 6:30 p.m.: In conversation with Bree Barton and Kosoko Jackson at East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C. Saturday, August 4, 3 p.m.: Talk Book to Me Author Panel with Megan Bannen, Adib Khorram, L.L. McKinney and Miranda Asebedo at the Kansas City (Missouri) Public Library, Plaza branch Monday, August 6, 6 p.m.: Reading and signing event at Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colorado Thursday, August 16, 6 p.m.: In conversation with Bree Barton at Watermark Books, Wichita, Kansas Thursday, October 4, 6:30 p.m.: Women of YA Panel with Megan Bannen, Natalie C. Parker, Miranda Asebedo and L.L. McKinney at the Johnson County Public Library, Overland Park, Kansas Hope to see some of you lovely readers soon!

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