By: Cait Marie
Sea Witch is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, told in a very new way from a different point of view than the mermaid. If you know me, you know that I was obsessed with the Disney movie growing up, and to this day it remains my favorite.
This story is about Evie, a fisherman’s daughter who happens to be best friends with the Prince, Nik. Years after they tragically lost their other friend Anna, Nick is saved from the stormy seas by a mermaid. Evie witnesses the mermaid and is convinced that it is Anna. When the mermaid, Annamette, gets her legs and comes on land, Evie befriends her. Together, they work towards Annamette being able to stay on land permanently.
There is a lot more to it all. Evie has magic in a kingdom that forbids it. The people treat her horribly because they think she’s cursed and that she is not good enough to be friends with the Prince. Iker, Nik’s cousin, is the Prince of a kingdom across the sea, and he and Evie are fond of each other. Annamette can speak, but she has four days to get true love’s kiss or she basically dies.
The whole thing is very different than the Disney story we all know, but the story is still very much there. There were parts that really lined up and made me say, “aw!”
I really enjoyed this book. I’ve never read a retelling of The Little Mermaid, so I was excited when I heard about this one. It’s very much historical fiction, which I’ve been wanting to get into more. I listened to the audiobook of it and it was very easy to listen to. I had a hard time stopping actually.
I definitely recommend this one if you like retellings. It’s very different than the retellings I’m used to, but in a good way. Henning really put a twist on the story and made it her own. The ending kind of blew my mind and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I loved it and hated it, which I will better explain below in the spoiler section, but know that the love definitely outweighs the hate!
I loved this book. There were many parts that really made my jaw drop. For example, the entire time, Annamette claims to not be their friend Anna. I didn’t believe this, I figured she really was, so when that was revealed, I wasn’t really surprised. How it was revealed and the truth behind her return is what did surprise me. Throughout the book, it goes back and forth from the present to the day Anna drowned. It’s eventually revealed that Nik and Iker saved Evie and not Anna, so when Anna regains her memories as a mermaid, she sets out to get revenge.
It was interesting that the mermaid was actually the villain of this story. I kind of really loved it.
Then we get to the end. Now, the book is called Sea Witch, so I assumed it was Ursula’s backstory when I started. However, the more I read, the more uncertain I was about this. I began thinking maybe she’d come in at the end for Annamette or something. But no… instead, Nik and Evie finally confess they love each other and she sacrifices herself to save him. She doesn’t die, but instead turns into the half-squid, half-girl we know as Ursula. I did not see that coming, to say the least.
The ending was both happy and sad for me. I am so sad they didn’t get their happily ever after, but I am happy she saved Nik. The way it’s written, you don’t get a sense of regret from Evie. She talks about his future, as well as Iker’s, and you see that Nik got to live out his life, which is what she wanted.
The epilogue then ends as the beginning of The Little Mermaid. It’s been several decades, and a mermaid goes to her in hopes of gaining legs to go on land and find her true love. There is a moment though when Evie’s talking to Annamette’s spirit, and they say something about knowing what will happen if it doesn’t work out, if the mermaid doesn’t get true love’s kiss within the allotted amount of time. I listened to this part two-three times trying to understand, because it sounded as if Evie hinted at sacrificing herself again, to save the girl. I might be wrong. I was a bit confused.
If you read this book, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!