Sea Witch Rising
by Sarah Henning
3.5 out of 5
“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love.
Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.
Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?
Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.
When the Sea King's daughter becomes human in her quest for love, it may bring war between the sea and the land.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It has been fifty years since Evie became the Sea Witch. The merpeople both fear and respect her magic, without knowing the true girl behind the tentacles.
When Alia, one of the Sea King's daughters, approaches her and catches her attention with the story of a long-harboured love with a human King; Evie agrees to give the mermaid four days on land to win her true love's kiss, or fade into the waves.
It's made more complicated when the truth comes out - that the royal is due to marry in 3 days, and that Alia may have stretched the truth on how well and how long she has known Niklas.
Her twin sister Runa makes a deal with the Sea Witch, to force her sister to kill Nik, the sacrifice turning them both back into mermaids.
This is set in the midst of First World War. Havnestad has gotten away lightly so far, but the seas are filled with mines instead of fish, and they have agreed to build u-boats for the Germans.
They have no idea that war is brewing under the sea, as the power-hungry king turns his eyes to the land magic.
I really enjoyed the first book. It had a few hints of the Hans Christian Anderson version, but was completely its own story.
I thought that Sea Witch Rising was much slower to start with. I think it tries to focus too much on being a re-telling of The Little Mermaid, that it never really gains much traction.
I wasn't a fan of Alia and Nik, our star-crossed pair. They lacked any real sincerity, and Nik's character in particular was quite shallow.
The second half picks up nicely, as it goes off on a tangent and creates something much more original.
I liked Runa's time with the land witches, as the human-hating mermaid starts to see that the world is bigger than she imagined, and there are big battles and little battles being fought every day.
Personally, I thought Runa's storyline was perfectly strong by itself, and the romantic aspect was completely unnecessary. It would have been interesting to see a mermaid find peace on land, without romantic love being involved.
Sadly, Evie's parts in the book weren't as interesting as Runa's. Yes, she's trapped in her lair, and that does limit things a little, but I started glossing over her chapters.
Overall, this was a 3.5 out of 5 for me.