Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is definitely a book to add to your TBR this summer. I’m not normally a big fan of mermaids, but when I heard that there was a book about Ursula’s origin story, I had to check it out. Sea Witch did not disappoint me, and I enjoyed the main character’s rise to evil. There is also some beautiful writing in this book, and I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah HenningTitle: Sea Witch
Series: Sea Witch #1
Author: Sarah Henning
Also by this author: It's All in How You Fall
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.


Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

This book is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but it focuses on the villain’s origin story. I love a good villain, and I was excited to pick this one up and get into Evie’s head. There are certain elements that are familiar from the original story, but there are also many fresh ideas, which is exactly what I like to see in fantasy retellings. I enjoyed the theme of friendship throughout the book, and it is nice to see the villain live a pretty normal life. There are some interesting twists in the story, although I did find them a bit predictable, but overall, this book captivated my interest.

❀ A Likeable Villain

I enjoyed Evie’s narration in the book. She is a witch, and witches are burned in her society, so she must hide her abilities. Evie actually seems pretty normal throughout the story, which is what I was hoping for, and I found myself sympathizing with her since she is from a lower class. As I was reading, I was hooked wondering what would push her over the edge and turn her evil. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that by the end of the book, it makes sense why she becomes a villain.

❀ Descriptive and Vivid

One thing that stood out to me while I was reading was the writing style. The book is written in a very descriptive manner, and everything seems so vivid. The world is also developed, and I found the Denmark setting so unique. The aspects such as cultural traditions and festivals really made the story believable. The literary style of the book surprised me, and I would say it captures the essence of the original Hans Christian Andersen tale very well.

❀ A Villain Origin Story

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is a villain origin story of the renowned sea witch, Ursula. I enjoyed the main character’s seemingly normal lifestyle and the descriptive writing style. If you are a fan of The Little Mermaid, I would definitely recommend this original take on the story.

About Sarah Henning

Image of Sarah Henning

Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, novice New Yorker, & professional bibliophile.

22 thoughts on “Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

  1. Marie says:

    Fantastic review! <3 I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much – I have heard great things about it overall and I'm kind of interested in that villain origin story. I'm not usually a fan of mermaids things, well, I haven't read loads of these, but after loving To Kill A Kingdom so much, I'm definitely ready to read more retellings like that 🙂 I'm so happy you found the writing so great, too 😀
    Marie recently posted…Review: Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

  2. Jaime Lester says:

    The Little Mermaid was my time! I remember that story from my childhood, and love it.. i am super interested in this retelling, especially learning more about the awful Ursula. i love that you loved it!

  3. Tessa says:

    I just finished reading To Kill a Kingdom and I am ready for more YA set under the sea! We get a lot of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast retellings, but there aren’t many spin-offs of The Little Mermaid (at least not in my experiences). I also love that we are getting Ursula’s side of the story, seeing everything from a different perspective. It reminds me a lot of the concept behind Fairest by Marissa Meyer, creating sympathy for the devil and complicating a classic story. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this one since it has been on my TBR for a while. Hopefully it lives up to the hype for me too!
    Tessa recently posted…It’s the Little Things in Life | July 2018 Wrap-Up

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