Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

3:35 PM

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning | Rating: ★★★☆☆

Forget everything you know about the infamous villain in The Little Mermaid. While this book took a bit of time to get into, its groove not especially found straightaway, it was haunting and quite intriguing once I really got into it. Sea Witch is an interesting spin on the classic tale and it offers up a fresh and new take on the mythology behind mermaids. Sarah Henning clearly put forth a lot of work in crafting this tale and I found it to be quite enjoyable for many reasons.

I will warn you guys: the first... let's say 35% of the book wasn't the greatest. There wasn't a lot going for it. I had my reservations about whether or not the story was even compelling enough to continue. Despite its flaws, and the general slowness to it, there was still something drawing about Henning's prose. I do love mermaids and I do love a good retelling. Sea Witch is just that--a good, but not great, retelling.

That being said, there were a lot of qualities I liked about Sea Witch. The dreary tone, for example, really added a nice layer to the storytelling. It was not dreary in a painful way, but in an almost captivating and matter of fact way. You could almost see this story playing out on screen with an almost blue and gray contrast to the films colouring. I don't know if that makes sense, but I did dig it a lot. Because one of Sea Witch's strongest suits was its atmosphere.

I thought that there was this excellent mix of hopeful and hopelessness when it came to its central plots. The characters weren't always particular standouts, and the main romances weren't my cup of tea, but I did find myself intrigued on the backstory of Evie and Anna's friendship--the subsequent return of Anna from the grave (er... ocean) and the little revenge subplot. I love the complexities of friendship and there was this darkness to both of them, especially Anna, that just really satisfied something in me.

Sea Witch is ultimately a tale of love, loss and revenge. There's this darkly intriguing quality to it that almost makes up for its lackluster beginning, but doesn't quite reach a more favorable status. Henning did a good job weaving a backstory for The Little Mermaid and the final quarter of Sea Witch is truly and genuinely fun in an "okay, there goes my heart" kind of way.

I was a little disappointed in the romance portion of the book but that's not a big deal. What I was more disappointed in was the lack of character development, use of mythology and worldbuilding. There was a bit too much "tell, not show" to these things and that definitely knocked down my score a bit more than I'd have liked.

Overall, it was a fun read, but I doubt I'd reread it again in the future.

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