If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve just started writing a mermaid/fantasy novel for Camp NaNoWriMo 2020! As part of my research, I’ve been reading as many mermaid books as possible. So I was delighted when I came across these two by Sarah Henning.
Sea Witch: ★★★★★
Sea Witch Rising: ★★★★
Series Overall: ★★★★
I read these books back-to-back, so I’ll admit I skipped the first chapter of Sea Witch Rising, as it was just the last chapter for the first book. I have already posted a single review for Sea Witch, which you can find here.
Sea Witch is the story of a human witch caught up with two princes in a kingdom that fears magic. To further complicate things; this kingdom also contains mermaids, and the magic to turn mermaids into humans – but at a price. When mermaids, witches, and royal human princes mix – you know you are in for an interesting ride. Evie, the witch and our main protagonist, has barely touched the surface of her own magic; always fighting its call to stay close to her best friend, Prince Nick.
Sea Witch Rising continues fifty years after the first book, revealing what happened to the witch Evie. Transformed at the end of Sea Witch, she is no longer human but has become the Sea Witch herself.
Despite being feared by mermaids; a fear drummed up by their power-hungry king, one of the king’s own daughters seeks Evie’s magic. Alia, desperately in love with the new king – Prince Nick’s grandson – and begs the Sea Witch to turn her into a human. She consents, but then has to face the anger of not on the Sea King- but Alia’s sisters. Alia’s twin, Runa, makes her own bargain with the witch in hopes she can save her sister from her mistakes.
I really enjoyed the story threading the books together, however, I did find the past and present chapter switches in Sea Witch a little confusing – but I think that is down to having one voice actor with no tonal changes (I listened to both books on BorrowBox).
Although I enjoyed the incorporation of a new generation of mermaids and magic in Sea Witch Rising, I wish we had more information on what happened to the princes in the fifty years that passed. I think – as most people would – that I would have enjoyed the ending of Sea Witch more if she had been given her happy ending. But, if she had then Sea Witch Rising couldn’t have happened, and we would be deprived of new wave characters.
Sea Witch Rising ends with a possible lead into a third book, so I really hope Sarah Henning goes with it. Runa is an intriguing character, and she brings back the feistiness from the first book, whilst keeping a vulnerability that leads down an unexpected – and romantic – path.
I would recommend this series! It is YA, but I would suggest parents check it out before letting a child under 12 read it (there are some descriptions of blood and death, which some children can be sensitive to.) If you enjoy the Disney Twisted Tales, then this series is a good read for you; with some subtle nods to the original Hans Christain Anderson story, and The Little Mermaid movie we all know and love.