by Sarah Henning
Review by Book_Nerd_Jess
The cover of Sea Witch has to be one of the most beautiful YA covers I’ve ever fallen for. So beautiful, it just had to be on my bookshelf. Even if the story within it’s pages couldn’t live up to my expectations, the beauty of the cover alone could make up for that.. Right? Yes it could, that’s what I told myself, as I eagerly purchased this book, excited to dive into a beautiful mermaid filled story.
That’s what I told myself before reading this back story of the Sea Witch from the beloved classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid. I knew this story wouldn’t end happy, but as I read on and got to know the main character Evie, I had high hopes that maybe, just maybe, it would end in a completely unexpected way that would leave me satisfied with exactly how the Sea Witch we all know and love to hate, came to be.
I was unfortunately gravely mistaken and should have stuck with my initial outlook.
The story begins 4 years after the tragic death of their best friend Anna, Nik (the prince) and Evie (poor fisherman’s daughter) are finally picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward. Things were tougher for Evie after the heartbreak of losing Anna, she is filled with survivor’s guilt and also being an outcast doesn’t help matters. Evie is a witch in hiding, because to reveal her powers would mean death. She may only be the daughter of a fisherman, but she is also Prince Nik’s best friend. And as his best friend, Evie can’t see the obvious, that Nik is in love with her. She’s too focused on Iker, Nick’s cousin, also a prince, whom Evie is head over heals for.
After Nick nearly downs during his birthday celebrations, he is saved by a mermaid who looks remarkably like Anna. That can’t be so, but when the mermaid Annamette finds Evie the next day but has legs instead of a fin, she tells Evie her story of the sacrifice she made for the prince she had saved: she has mere days to receive true loves kiss from Nik or she will die. Evie feels an instant connection with Annamette, reminding her of her long lost best friend Anna, and soon finds herself ready to help her in any way she can and somehow this will help keep the real Anna’s spirit alive. By doing this, she will save her best friend this time, because as she gets to know Annamette, she believes this is actually Anna, the girl she loved like a sister.
What I still can’t get over, is that as slow paced this book was, I just couldn’t understand how someone so ready to sacrifice everything for the ones she loves can somehow become the evil Sea Witch Ursula. When I finally got to the end of this story, I was hoping beyond anything that we would see the true villian become the Sea Witch, not our big heart heroine Evie, that after admitting to herself that she wasn’t at fault for Anna’s death, and seeing she truly loves Nik the same way he loves her, how could her heart turn so wickedly evil in the last pages of this book, I just couldn’t figure that out. And unfortunately I still don’t understand how Evie could ever be the evil Sea Witch. The only solace I found as the book ended with the Little Mermaid coming to ask for help from Evie, the Sea Witch, was that with some nods to the original story by Hans Christian Anderson, I finally realized that this wasn’t the story of how Ursula came to be, this was the story of the original Sea Witch from the classic story, whom wasn’t as evil as Ursula. This alone left me feeling okay with how Evie does indeed become the Sea Witch.
I’m still convinced that this story could have ended less tragically, and taken all readers by surprise by making the true evil villain the Sea Witch instead.