Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Photo by Lock & Company / The Librarian Box

Photo by Lock & Company / The Librarian Box

ARC provided by Harper collins.

In the town of Havnestad lives Evie, disliked by the villagers and haunted by the death of her childhood friend, Anna. Evie’s life is that of an outcast - with the exception of her friend, Crown Prince Niklas and his cousin, the dashing Iker - until the mysterious Annemette appears. The similarities to Anna are undeniable - could it be Anna somehow survived? And if it truly is Anna, what price is Evie willing to pay to be reunited with her best friend?

“I want to be where the people are…”
-Disney’s The Little Mermaid

What kid of the 90’s didn’t grow up watching The Little Mermaid? I for one used to push myself up on my couch’s arm, timing it just right so Ariel and I were in sync, belting, “Part of your woooorld,” as loud as I could. As I grew older, the Hans Christian Anderson tale both intrigued and horrified me (walking on knives? No thank you, please). But I never stopped to think about Ursula, the villain that both helped and hurt our favorite female fishy friend.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is Ursula’s origin story. The Wicked, if you will, version of The Little Mermaid. But the tale is done so sweetly and innocently that you forget this is a story about a villain. Evie is so personable and empathetic, it’s easy to forget the witch she will become.

“No good deed goes unpunished…”
No Good Deed, Wicked

My favorite part of the book is the world Henning created. Set in Denmark, the story is filled with Danish vocabulary and traditions that seat this fairy tale in a very real world. Who wouldn’t love to celebrate Urda and chuck bread at your friend (side note: apparently, the Festival of Urda was a real thing, though I’m not sure about the bread part). Henning must be a foodie, because she tantalizers her readers with descriptions of cakes, bread, smoked fish, seafood and pastries - don’t read this one hungry, Librarians.

If you’re looking for a rollicking sea adventure, full of swashbuckling and fins - slow your roll (cool your sails?). Henning takes her time, jumping from past to present, first person to third person, and while I read it in one sitting, it’s a slowly paced book. Doesn't mean it's a bad thing (every sentence is very deliberate and taking your time is worth it to pick up on all the tiny details woven in, especially on a re-read). Didn’t stop me from finishing, obviously, but be warned this is more of a casual cruise than a swift sailing.

While it’s hard to spoil the ending (shocker: Evie is Ursula!) I definitely do not want to spoil the how or why of said ending. All I can say is, the ending was one that took me a few times to grasp, and made me want to go back and start it all over again.

If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of Sea Witch, visit our orders page to snag your very own box, filled with under-the-sea goodies! And don't forget, we're running a giveaway for FREE swag over on our Facebook - the contest ends Sunday, June 17 at 11:59pm, so head over there and enter! 

Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer