Sea Witch by Sarah Henning


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.


Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Publication July 31st 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
Young Adult Fiction / Fairy Tales & Folklore
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: Edelweiss
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars


Book Review 

Rich in detail and as darkly enchanting as the sea, SEA WITCH is Sarah Henning's maritime drenched retelling of The Little Mermaid.

This is a captivating origins tale of how the Sea Witch from Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale came to be. The story is filled with lovely details and feels more akin to a young adult historical.

The story takes place in Havnestad, an alternate 19th-century Danish fishing town. The brine and salt water are palpable and feel perfect for the ominous moment readers are waiting for—that magical moment we meet the Sea Witch. 

The sea is a fickle witch. She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips.

The pacing is definitely on the leisurely side and takes place on land rather than under the sea. This is not a tale of mermaids and adventures underwater but rather a character study of Evie and her friends. Told through many POV's with flashbacks in time, it focuses on the many twists and turns Evie, Nik, Annemette, and Iker's friendships take. Weaving in romance, secrets, betrayal, and magic. 

What the Henning excels at is giving readers a compelling new vision of the Sea Witch, humanizing her with emotions, characteristics and a fascinating backstory we can empathize with.

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.

This is a story of witchery, magic, revenge and the mercurial beauty of the sea. It is a story of love lost and love found; a story of betrayal and sacrifice. Most of all, it is the story of how one girl with a touch of magic in her hands who finds herself in a role she never wanted and a story she could not have imagined. 

In the End

Sea Witch is an entertaining if leisurely read. Bittersweet and filled with gorgeous writing, readers will find a rich maritime world, compelling characters and a fascinating new look at the origins of the Sea Witch.

Recommend for:

Readers interested in the villainess origin story of the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid, books with rich maritime settings, and readers who don't mind a leisurely pace in exchange for nuanced characters.

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