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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Wunderkind PR and Katherine Tegen Books for sending an advance copy of Sea Witch Rising in exchange for an honest review.
I had originally picked up Sea Witch because of the stunning cover (my review is here) and ended up enjoying the story as well! So I was excited when Wunderkind PR reached out to see if I'd be interested in reviewing Sea Witch Rising, the sequel novel set roughly 50 years later. Of course I jumped at the chance to find out where Evie's life had taken her and to read Henning's reimagining of The Little Mermaid fairytale.
Dual Perspective is Perfect
I really enjoyed that this story is told from both Evie and Runa's perspectives. Between the two women, we are able to see this story play out both on land and under the ocean. With a World War as the backdrop, Runa's story brings us from the ocean, to the palace, to a coven of witches that are trying to prevent Denmark from engaging in the war. Under water, Evie is trapped in her prison but continues to try to stop the Sea King from going to war with humans in an attempt to gain more power for himself. With the two POVs, we are given a more detailed understanding of the power struggles happening on land and sea.
Excellent Reimagining of The Little Mermaid Story
The Sea Witch was the story of how the "evil" sea witch came to be, but ultimately showed readers that Evie was simply a girl who accepted her role as the villain in order to save the man she loved. In Sea Witch Rising, Evie's story continues alongside twins Runa and Alia, two young mermaids who have both become human. While Alia fits the classic story of The Little Mermaid (a mermaid who bargains her voice to gain legs in order to win the love of a prince), it is Runa's story we witness as she too becomes human to save her sister, but ultimately must find her own path. I liked that the traditional role of "evil sea witch" is once again shifted in this story to create a more interesting plot.
Evie is Much More Developed
As a character, Evie grabbed my attention a lot more in this book. Unlike the first novel where she spends much of the book either apologizing for her magic or hiding from it, Evie has accepted who she is and her abilities. Although she is imprisoned, her compassion and hope is still alive and she does what she can to fight back against the Sea King. The characters in Sea Witch pale in comparison to those in Sea Witch Rising and I was thrilled that we were given the chance to see Evie's growth!
Overall, this was a great second novel. I thought it was a stronger story and that the characters were much more interesting (plus, the Great War as a backdrop was a great idea because it added another level of tension). I'd recommend Sea Witch Rising to anyone who enjoyed Sea Witch, is a fan of retellings, or enjoys YA fantasy novels!
Sea Witch Rising comes out August 6th, 2019 and I can't wait to hear what you think of it!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
Follow Me on Instagram