Sea Witch – Review

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

Evie knows that magic exists. Even if the people in her village would burn anyone claiming to have magic alive. It’s just as well that she is isolated. Shunned for her poverty and judged for her friendship with the Prince. Pushed aside even more after her best friend, Anna, drowned in the sea when they were children.

When a girl shows up on the shore of their beach, looking remarkably like Anna, Evie is convinced her best friend not only survived, but was transformed to a mermaid. Now, determined to ensure that her friend can stay on land with her two legs, Evie will do anything. Even use her own magic. But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend has secrets of her own.

“When my eyes meet hers and they’re clear and hard, I realize we’ve made an exchange. A dangerous one.”

Sea Witch is as enchanting as it is intoxicating. Henning has created a fairy tale spun from history with enough realistic detail to render every moment of this magical tale as believable.

One of my absolute favorite things about this book is how Henning makes me forget I’m reading a villain story. I love love LOVE when I forget that the person I’m rooting for isn’t quite what they seem. When the line between good and bad, dark and light, morality and wickedness becomes blurred to the point where we can’t tell the difference. Those are my favorite! Sea Witch will have you reeling by the end, wondering what makes a person good or bad. What happens when pure motivations, when good intentions cross into the territory of wrong.

“I prepare the knife. Because though magic can shape life and death, love is the one thing it cannot control.”

This is one of the most intricate and beautiful retellings of Han Christian Anderson’s original fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. I loved how Henning kept so many element of the original tale woven into her own version, with enough twists and changes to make it uniquely her own. This is a story that feels as classic as it is original and I am living for it!!!

I do think that this is a book you have to read entirely to do it proper justice. This is not the classic fairy tale. It isn’t the Disney retelling, or a rendition of any version out there. For those familiar with the tale, you’ll be delighted in the tiny details and nuances included, but they aren’t structured or even plotted in the same way. The subtly of their inclusion is incredibly smart, so much so, that I’m sure I missed a few. But the story line, even with these details, is uniquely and vibrantly it’s own.

“Everything about love is dangerous.”

This is a dark fairy tale, but not in the way you’d expect. I was surprised at how light and hopeful the story felt in the beginning. But the darkness is more real, lending the authenticity and vivid sense of reality to the entire novel. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am a SUCKER for tragedy. Give me all the tragic, rip my heart out with the beautiful pain that only tragedy can produce. Sea Witch is tragic in that beautiful, uplifting way. It is sad yet hopeful, while being deep and profound.

The original intent of fairy tales was to tell a story, yes, but it was also to teach a lesson. To ascribe morals and behaviors in the characters so that children would be cautioned. I feel that sometimes the subtly of those lessons and the harshness of reality can often be lost in the effort to make everything have a happy ending. Sometimes endings are bittersweet. Villains are sympathetic and good people do bad things. This delicious novel has those elements, giving it the bite and darkness a good villain story needs, without relying on cliche or predictable villain antics.

“The only thing magic cannot do is know its bounds. Anything is possible.”

This is very much a story about wanting what we can’t have. About love, heartbreak, and revenge. I was swept away by the magic of Henning’s storytelling and fell in love from the opening chapters. If you love retellings, villains, and tragedy so beautiful it hurts, pick up Sea Witch now! It’s the perfect book to help you say goodbye to summer and ease into fall. It’s magical and haunting. Ethereal and emotional. It made my black heart sing, and I think it will do the same to you.

Thank you BookSparks for sending my a review copy for your #yasummerreads #readbythesea2018 blog tour!

7 thoughts on “Sea Witch – Review

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