Publisher: Tegan Books
Author: Sarah Henning
Released: August 6th, 2019
I received a copy of Sea Witch Rising in exchange for a fair and honest review. Though to be fair, I had already intending to read and review the sequel to Sea Witch.
Sea Witch Rising is the dramatic conclusion to the Sea Witch plot by Sarah Henning. In this novel, we see the tale of the Little Mermaid retold in a truly unique fashion. To say that the focus was entirely on the Sea Witch wouldn’t be entirely accurate; the little mermaids in this tale did get to tell their tale as well.
Where the first novel in this series was an origin story, the sequel continues the tale that was dramatically begun, taking it farther beyond than readers could have ever expected. But in many ways, this conclusion is the full circle telling we’ve always wanted and needed to see.
The novel continues Evie’s tale, but also introduces Runa’s quest to save her sister, Alia from the tragic fate known to mermaids who fall in love with humans. These two plots converge, creating one massive story for readers to enjoy (I know I did).
I’ve been looking forward to Sea Witch Rising ever since the title was released. And it certainly lived up to my expectations. This novel really did twist the tale of the Little Mermaid into something new and completely unique. It upped the ante of the tale, adding in strong characters, political schemes, and a foundation in history.
There are several different elements to this tale. First, there’s the Sea Witch, Evie. This was never the life she wanted for herself, and truly all she wants to do is to be free. Then there’s Runa, twin sister to Alia. Alia made the infamous pact with the Sea Witch to get a chance at the man she loves. Meanwhile, Runa just wants to save Alia from the sea foam fate.
And finally, there is the setting to consider. On the one hand, we have a World War looming on the horizon, with submarines putting the mermaid civilization at risk. On the other hand, we have a corrupt monarchy to contend with. These were unexpected twists to this tale, but they went a long way into making the world feel more solid and dangerous.
There was a lot of complexity to this tale, because of these elements. It made it harder to predict what was going to happen next. It also made things a lot more intriguing. I love this new interpretation of the world around our characters. And of course, I adore the main characters.
I’ve always liked Evie, so I was surprised when Runa became such a focus. Though I did grow to like her as well. Runa is a passionate and caring individual, one who was willing to give up her idea of a happy life if it meant saving her sister. It’s hard not to respect that.
Runa’s journey was possibly the most surprising side of this story, but it was beautifully written. Part of me is actually quite sad that this series is a duology, because I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her or her sisters.
The politics involved in this novel were another pleasant surprise. I enjoyed seeing that each of the mermaid sisters appeared to have a gift and a purpose, as well as learning that there was corruption behind it all. It made the underwater world seem a little less ideal. In many ways, mermaids are more similar to humans than they would like to admit.
The final battles in this novel were intense, and stunningly written. I don’t want to say too much, for the sake of spoilers. But I will say that I enjoyed every minute of it. I also love how things were handled after the fact; the way Sarah Henning wrapped up all of the many subplots going on. I hadn’t seen it coming, but it actually made quite a lot sense. And it was satisfying as well.
On the whole, I really did adore both Sea Witch and Sea Witch Rising. I’m sad that the series is over, but that just means I need to keep my eyes open for whatever project Sarah Henning picks up next. I wonder what it’ll be?