Review: Sea Witch
Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Published: 31 July 2018
Format: Hardback, library book
Memorable Quote: “Men are always asking for more than they should” (103).
Rating: 4/5 stars
You Might Enjoy: The Bone Witch (Rin Chupecco)
Synopsis: After her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has felt more like an outcast in their small down. Even with her other best friend, the crown prince, Nik, she still thinks of Anna daily, drowning herself with guilt over the fact that she could not save her.
One day, a girl who looks exactly like Anna appears and needs Evie’s help. The girls become instant friends, though Evie insists she must be Anna. However, the girl adamantly denies this. Evie introduces her new friend to Nik and his cousin Iker. Soon the girls become very close with the princes, and Evie begins to find hope that her life is turning around.
However, Annemette has a secret and Evie must help her. Without true love, Annette will not be able to remain human. With time running out quickly, Evie must find a way to help her new friend, even if it means taking a great risk. Magic, secrets, and love quickly become a dangerous combination.
Oh, my. This was definitely not Disney’s The Little Mermaid. This was like a dark origin story that, despite the slowish start, kept me on my toes with just how intense it was.
I’m a fan of historical fiction, and the book has a solid base in that. I especially love historical fiction with some magic, and there is plenty of that – dark magic and good magic. It’s been a while since I read a YA mermaid book, but I remember that the last one I read was pretty fluffy and sweet. So Sea Witch was quite the surprise.
The story is laced with themes of friendship, revenge, love, and how all actions, even ones out of love, can have dire consequences.
I appreciated the use of flashbacks in this story because it added an extra layer to the characters and their actions. The flashbacks provided a break from Evie’s point of view and provided me with the various experiences of characters like Nik and Iker, who I found to be rather flat otherwise (although Nik was kind of sweet).
Each of the characters has their own set of secrets and issues from magic to revenge, though it all comes together very slowly. Annemette is obviously more than she seems. Nik is struggling with his own thoughts, and Evie is battling her own demons and hoping to amend the past by helping Annemette.
So if you aren’t a patient reader, this book might not be for you. Everything is very slow to build up. However, I think that the pacing fits the story. It makes it easier to see how things fall together and apart.
One a side note, I also loved how Henning incorporated witchcraft into Sea Witch. It added to the story rather than being something that complicated it or muddled it.
The exciting stuff happens toward the end of the book, but until that point, readers will wander through history, class issues, and, of course, magic.
I found Sea Witch to be quite enjoyable. I would definitely pick it up again. The ending gave me chills and was definitely the most beautifully tragic part of the book.
Let me know what you think!
PS – Just look at how beautifully creepy and haunting that cover is!