Sea Witch Rising, Sarah Henning – Book Review

Hello Humans! Back for more are we? Today’s review is for Sea Witch Rising, the sequel to Sea Witch which I reckon I read almost exactly a year ago – it’s nice when things circle around like that! I remembered really enjoying Sea Witch but, when I heard that there was going to be a sequel I was a little confused. The first book ties off so neatly, what else was there to tell? Armed with that curiosity I set off to find out just what made this book worth writing (and whether it was worth reading…)

Sea Witch Rising

Goodreads Summary:

“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.

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So, for those who are wiser than me and read the summaries of books before they start reading them it will become clear that, while this book does follow on from the events of Sea Witch, it would be much better described as a companion novel than a direct sequel (at least in my opinion). It takes place a couple of generations removed from the characters in the first book, although there are some overlaps. I think this was a smart decision largely because I don’t remember being overly fond of the love interest(s) in the first book and it was nice to have some new characters, while still keeping that connection to the lessons learned in book one. I liked that this also wasn’t just a rehashing of the first book, there’s more going on here, in many ways, but there are also fewer mysteries – we know (ish) how magic works and there are much fewer cases of mistaken identity. If those mysterious elements were your favourite parts of the first book, then maybe this won’t be as much of a success for you? But this book does have some of those ‘revolution’ plotlines that I personally really enjoy in YA fiction.

So, this book is quite different from the first book, whether that is a success or something else will largely depend on personal preference.

This book switches between POVs with the Sea Witch Evie and Runa (a new character and the sister of ‘the little mermaid’ who also features in this story). I thought that Evie’s story would be fairly dull and only included for the sake of continuity – she was stuck in a cave what could she possibly add to the story? But actually, I really liked the dual POV. For one thing, it allowed for a bit more of an exploration of how magic worked and the divide between sea and land magic. For another, Evie actually plays a large part in this plot despite her aforementioned stranded-ness. I won’t go into too much detail for fear of spoiling anything but suffice to say she has a big part to play.

There were times during this book where I felt like the plot got a little confused and too fast-moving. I think in part this one is on me, I do tend to skim read (I’m working on it) but also there were aspects such as the romance which I think could have benefitted from a bit more time spent on developing them before they…bloomed? Mixed metaphors guys – I have a problem. I also felt like the final moments of the book felt a little implausible, largely because they came about so quickly!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don’t think it hit quite as hard as Sea Witch did, but it’s a very strong ‘sequel’ all the same. Definitely better described as a companion novel (at least in my opinion) but I would say it’s well worth a read, especially if you enjoyed the first book.

My rating: A solid 3.5-4/5 stars!

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Sea Witch Rising publishes August 8th!

Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)

What say you? What are your opinions on companion novels? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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