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I was super excited to read Rise of the Sea Witch! I just love villain evolution stories! I find it incredibly interesting to see what makes a villain a villain, I feel like 90% of the time villains are made, not born. And who's story better to get than Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid?!
Ursula definitely falls into the 90%, she was not born Ursula the Sea Witch, she was born Princes Vanessa, daughter of Poseidon, big sister to Prince Triton. Vanessa definitely didn't have things as easy as you would anticipate a Princess having. At an early age, after the death of her mother, it was painfully obvious that Poseidon was not the hands-on, loving parent that the kids so desperately needed. And it was apparent that Vanessa drew his ire more than anyone (the real juicy bit is why though!!).
I feel like Poseidon's indifference to Vanessa only pushed her more to impress him and do everything, and anything, to just once feel like she mattered. It drove her to work as hard as she could to be his successor as Ruler of Atlantica. More often than not in this endeavor I feel as if Vanessa's intentions were good(ish) but they ultimately lead to her downfall nevertheless.
Vanessa wasn't the purest, or sweetest, or the most thoughtful person, at times she could be downright selfish, entitled, and vindictive, but to be honest I feel like this endeared me to her even more. It made her feel more real to me. And it also made it hurt that much more when things inevitably came back to burn her, tenfold. I didn't always agree with her choices but I did come to understand why she made them. To be honest, by the end I was furious for Vanessa, a little part of me thought her a little justified in her craving for vengeance.
I also really liked how the story was told, with Ursula telling her victims, who had no choice but to listen, how she was wronged and what drove her to help the "poor unfortunate souls" like them. It was both sad and glorious to see the Ursula we know, dramatically telling this woe-is-me tale to none other than the mer-people that she had imprisoned.
I was really pumped to read this story and I am so glad I did because it exceeded my expectations! If any of this sounds even a bit intriguing to you, I highly recommend giving this one a try!
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This book was AMAZING! I rarely give a first book in a series 5 stars, but if I could give this book a million stars I would!
The world building was TOP NOTCH. I kept telling my friend this was Ilona Andrews level world building. For those that don't know, that is like the be all end all of world building, in my book at least. It was so vast I kept thinking I could stay in this world forever. I can see where there would be no shortage of stories to be told in this world that McAtee has created. There was a supernatural POWERHOUSE in this book, with plenty of beings that are familiar, shifters, witches, demons, necromancers etc. and some new and fascinating beings I haven't read about before! I enjoyed the fact that Ember was new to this supernatural world too so you got to learn everything about this new mesmerizing place and all its colorful inhabitants side by side with her.
The characters were so diverse and plentiful. There were a lot of people in this story, and there wasn't one that didn't have me completely engrossed in their life. I could not get enough of them! We get a few different POVs in this story, and they are perfectly executed. I am so particular about multiple POVs. If they aren't clearly recognized each time, rather by each voice being distinguishable and unique enough to stand on their own obviously, or by marking it at the chapter changes, I tend to be disappointed. I had no problem with that here. I was honestly kind of blown away how seamlessly the shift was made each time, and even more impressively, how loveable each person was! I was always happy to spend time seeing things through any of their eyes and that is no easy task!
It also needs to be said that this cover is stunning as well! I really can't even do this book enough justice with a review. I loved everything about it, plain and simple. And if any of this sounds even remotely like something you may enjoy, pick this book up because I have a feeling you are going to fall in love with it too.
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Reading an Alys Arden book is like taking a vacation. Her books make you feel like you're an actual part of the French Quarter. Completely immersive and her love of her city shines through each and every page. You end up feeling as if you are living and breathing the city right along with the characters. I absolutely adore that about these books!
I loved watching the Coven come together and getting to know some new characters as well as getting more background stories from characters we already know and love. Getting to know Niccolo better was quite endearing. I don't know what Arden is trying to do to my heart, but I don't think I could possibly be any more conflicted between Niccolo and Isaac at this point! Seeing Adele and Isaac's relationship flourish in this book was so sweet. I can plainly see that they are pretty darn wonderful together. But even with Niccolo being out of sight, he was never out of mind, and seeing him as this young determined dreamer with so many hopes of a bright future tugged at each one of my heartstrings. I don't even know what I want at this point! I am DYING to see what happens in the next book.
I was really excited to see more of the witch magic throughout the story. It was a lot of fun watching Adele, Isaac and Dee building up their coven and finding their place. I am very eager to see this group grow and flourish! I am completely intrigued by their individual growing powers as well! That ending was OUT OF CONTROL. You could tell that it was building to something huge towards the end, and it did not disappoint. I have no idea what will happen next in this story, but I can't wait to find out!