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review 2019-01-07 18:17
Review: Sea Witch
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of last year. The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales (and my favourite Disney movie). So a sea witch origin story? Hell yes! I pre ordered as well and was so excited when my review request was approved.

 

Only…I can’t say I was overtly impressed. It was almost 70% of the book before anything resembling The Little Mermaid cropped up into the story and the first half was slow and kind of boring.  The setting was beautiful – inspired by the original tale not the Disneyfied version, the Danish kingdom by the sea sounds absolutely beautiful.

 

The heroine, Evie, is interesting as she is not the most likeable of characters. She’s kind of blunt at times, an outcast. Her mother is out of the picture (can’t remember why) and her father is away a lot working on the fishing boats. Evie lives with the local witch, and is learning her magic. And sneaking glances at magic she’s not supposed to know.

 

Already looked down upon because of where she stays, she also feels the stigma of the death of her childhood best friend Anna. They were both playing in the sea, something happened, Evie survived, Anna did not.  Evie also has developed a close friendship with the Crown Prince and his handsome cousin, all are about the same age. Many of the nobles don’t like this, another reason Evie is frowned up on.

 

Yet despite this she keeps a strong outlook and doesn’t let people’s disdain of her stop her from being friends with the Prince and hanging out with him and his cousin whenever she can. She’s also not opposed to using magic she’s not supposed to.

 

The first half of the book focuses on how Evie deals with day to day life, her friendship with the two princes, the upcoming festival. The hints of her darker nature just showing through. It is beautifully written, but it is very very slow. And despite showing hints of a strong character, Evie spends a fair bit of time mooning over the Prince’s cousin who she may or may not have feelings for. The dude is a known player yet seems to give her special treatment more than any other girls he’s supposedly courted.

 

When a strange new girl arrives in town looking almost identical to Anna, Evie’s world is thrown. She’s convinced the girl IS Anna, but the girl is firm she is not. She and the girl develop a close friendship and Evie learns the girl’s secret – she is in fact, a mermaid and needs to find her true love in order to stay on land and keep her legs. This new girl also develops a close friendship with Evie’s prince and his cousin. The cousin is convinced there’s something not right about this girl.

 

The girl has some unusual magic of her own, Evie is determined to help the girl, she failed one friend she won’t fail another. But things start unravelling as the girl’s history and secrets are slowly revealed and truths are learned. Things take a drastic turn and change for Evie in ways she never imagined.

 

The latter half of the book was much more fast paced, but as I said earlier it’s almost 70% before the pace finally picks up and things start happening – fast. It almost seems rushed. The characters of Evie and the mysterious new girl were quite well fleshed out, but the two princes just felt like generic YA love interest characters. One nice and friendly with good honourable intentions, the other a charmer with a not so good reputation. It’s been done a hundred times.

 

There was enough of an interesting narrative to want to know what was going on – but it was still a little bit disappointing.

 

It appears there is a sequel, I can’t honestly say I am that interested in continuing this story, though I would definitely read something else written by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Children’s books for approving my request to view the title.

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text 2018-09-30 17:45
September Re-Cap
 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller
Any Man - Amber Tamblyn
Something in the Water - Catherine Steadman
City of the Lost - Kelley Armstrong
A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder - Julie Anne Lindsey
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls - Clara Emily Carpenter
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
FantasticLand - Mike Bockoven
Contagion - Erin Bowman

 

 

I read a total of fourteen books towards Halloween Bingo, a decent month worth of books.  No Bingo's yet, but I'm close to having a few.  Only one book that I didn't like...and that was Burying the Honeysuckle Girls.  One freaky AF book...that one is Any Man, although, Fantasticland could probably fit into that category as well.  I also loved the first book in what I think will be a duology, with Contagion.  I'm still finding myself listening more than reading, it seems to be my new normal now. 

 

 

 

(Audiobook) All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother by Danielle Teller

Finish Date:  09/04

☆4.2☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

Finish Date:  09/05

☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Finish Date:  09/07

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Audiobook) City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Finish Date:  09/09

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Kindle eBook) A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Lindsey

Finish Date:  09/09

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Audiobook) Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Finish Date:  09/12

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Audiobook) Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

Finish Date:  09/14

☆2☆STARS - GRADE=D

 

(Audiobook) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Finish Date:  09/17

☆3.7☆STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven

Finish Date:  09/18

☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+

 

(Audiobook) Contagion by Erin Bowman

Finish Date:  09/20

☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+

 

(Kindle eBook) The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons

Finish Date:  09/23

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Audiobook) In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Finish Date:  09/24

☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Finish Date:  09/26

☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) A Killer's Mind by Mike Omer

Finish Date:  09/28

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

14 Books Total, 12 of them Audiobooks and 2 Kindle eBooks.  A Total of 4,897 pages (including Audio).

 

Since I tend to pick books based on there covers...my pick for the best cover of the month goes to...

 

...it's actually a tie between Sea Witch and Contagion. 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-13 19:08
The fairy tale you thought you knew...The story of the Sea Witch, the villainess from Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale The Little Mermaid.
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Sea Witch

Sarah Henning

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

This wasn't exactly what I was expecting…at first its girls dancing with boys and "wouldn't it be fun if we got together with cousins, what fun we would have, oh la".  Ugh.  There was a little bit of darkness and witchiness lurking in the story at that point.  Then about 60% into it…BAM…the story takes a twist down the dark & nasty…

 

Overall that turn made this, by far, a better story than it was shaping up to be.  So if your willing to hang in there through the less than worthwhile parts of the story, I think it will end up being a mostly satisfying read, as long as you don't pick apart its inconsistencies. And especially, if you like the Little Mermaid, although it's more of a backstory than a retelling.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 3.7/5

Main Characters~ 3.5/5

Secondary Characters~ 3/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~ 3.5/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2.8/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ Well…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ It's super gorgeous…love it.

Narration~ 3.5 for Billie Fulford-Brown, she was okay…I just had a difficult time with her accent.

Setting~ Havnestad, Denmark

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

I used this for Fear the Drowning Deep Square in Halloween Bingo

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-22 23:54
This Little Mermaid Prequel is Delightfully Wicked-esque
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

Sea Witch was marketed as a prequel to The Little Mermaid meets Wicked, and since I love both, I immediately requested to read and review this. It’s the story of Evie, a young Danish girl secretly a witch, and what she’ll do to save the people she loves. If you know either The Little Mermaid (both the Disney version, the original Hans Christian Anderson tale) or Wicked, you’ll recognise the tributes to both within the narrative, although it’s all weaved together by elements of originality. It’s also got a wicked twist that’s worth reading even if leading up to the twist is a little frustrating.

 

What I found frustrating is 

that Evie’s never really sure if her magic works or not. Her spells almost feel like ritual superstition. That is until all of a sudden yes, her magic works in spectacular ways, but only with an audience that will threaten her life. It was frustrating to read that Evie may or may not have been any good at magic except when she needed to be exceptional. She constantly regretted not training more but managed to cast powerful spells when needed. I found the lack of consistency frustrating. Where did her sudden confidence come from? Is she supremely gifted or just lucky?

(spoiler show)

 

 

I really liked the other characters in the novel, specifically Nik and the mysterious girl Evie vows to help. I appreciated how much effort the author put into developing Evie’s friendships with these two characters. It was nice to see a boy-girl friendship untainted by romance but with the interesting twist of them also increasingly aware of becoming grown up, and the added awkwardness between them as Nik was pressured into finding a bride that could in no way be Evie.

 

The worldbuilding was fine, if a big vague. I loved how everything revolved around the ocean and the Danes revered it as almost sentient. The setting, on the other hand, was extraordinarily vivid. I could almost smell the fish, feel the ocean, the storms, the rocking of the ships.

 

The best thing I can say about this book is that the payoff is worth it. It opens with a prologue that doesn’t really seem significant until quite far into the novel. I was constantly thinking to myself, How is this prologue relevant? In the end, it was very relevant, and also kind of awesome, but I had to read almost the whole novel to get to the pay off.

 

Which is, I know, often the point of most novels, but the point here that I want to reinforce is this: do not give up on this novel if you are feeling frustrated by the slow pace or a plot where you feel not much is happening. The focus to me felt much more on the friendship between the main characters, so sometimes it felt like there wasn’t a lot going on, especially in the middle part. But it’s worth it in the end.

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