Book Review - Fantasy - Mythology & Retelling - YA

Sea Witch Rising

Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Sea Witch
Series #: 2
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

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. 


Evie is the Sea Witch, and when a mermaid princess comes to her seeking help, she gives it for a price. This puts her on the bad side of the princess’s father. Meanwhile, Runa, the twin of the princess is desperate to save her sister and so she too asks the Sea Witch for help. Will they all manage to get what they want?

The sharpest of things keeps its edge even in the dullest of settings.

I enjoyed the first book, and I was so excited for a second book. I thought that it would continue to be absolutely amazing and that I would not hate this book. Sadly, this book does not live up to its predecessor. There was something timeless and different about Sea Witch, however in Sea Witch Rising much of that charm was lost. There was nothing that I really loved about this book, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I just felt much of what I liked in the first book was absent in this one. I really wish I had loved it. This is going to be a fairly short review, as I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book.

But now, my eyes are open.

First off, the beginning of the book was actually interesting. I thought that it was going to be good, but the further I got into the book, the less and less interested I became in it. It wasn’t nearly as good as the original in all ways. I do think the plot in and of itself was more straight to the little mermaid story than the last book, and I had really appreciated how the last book twisted that. This kept that same theme, but it didn’t resonate with me in the same way. Overall I found the plots themselves weak. I feel as if everything was highly anticlimactic, when it should have been more so…

“Love is worth suffering and sacrifice if it’s true.”

(The above quote was my favorite from the whole book.)

Evie was the only minimally interesting character to me. I loved Evie in the first book. I thought there was a lot to be said for her character. And I still liked her in this one, even if I felt it was a bit odd. I really do believe that Evie is still my favorite character. I’d had high hopes for Runa but I never connected with her character at all. I liked the idea of playing on sisterly bonds, but it didn’t succeed in my opinion. And I felt that was a main theme of the book.

The writing was still as good as the first one. Henning is a great writer, and I think her storytelling skills are great, but I just felt this book was overall lackluster. The first book was an original take, and this book clearly sought to replicate that. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me. I had wanted so much more for this book!


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