Author: Sarah Henning
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 39 minutes
“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.
Sea Witch Rising is the sequel to Sea Witch. While this is currently a duology, I believe it has not been officially ruled out that there could potentially be a third novel added in the future. The ending does have a slight open-endedness where I could see a third novel fitting, yet it was satisfying enough where it makes sense to leave the series as-is. The first novel went into how the Sea Witch came to be as Evie went from a fisherman’s daughter and witch to her new form and role in the sea. This novel takes place 50 years after the first and has two tales as Evie wants freedom from being the Sea Witch and there are two new characters that follow a retelling of The Little Mermaid. These characters, Alia and Runa, are twin daughters of the Sea King. Alia initially trades her voice to Evie to become a temporary human to win the heart of the prince. When Runa realizes the plan will never work out, she makes her own deal with Evie to become human to help Alia.
The story is told through the POVs of Runa and Evie. In Runa’s portion of the story, the reader follows along Alia’s quest to get Prince Nik (an ancestor of Nik from the first novel) to be with her before she turns to sea foam at the end of her four-day deadline. There is actually not a lot of focus on this retelling part of the story in favor of Runa’s tale of teaming up with magic users, Nik’s cousin Will and two other new characters, Sophie and Katrine, to help stop of the construction of U-boats in Denmark (the setting) as the story is set in 1914 (WWI times). While working together, Will and Runa begin to connect and potential romance forms. After the Sea King finds out what happens with Alia and Runa, he blames Evie and the two of them wage war on each other. For me, the story was a little all over the place as it is initially set as retelling, but then expands into something else entirely. I love when authors take a new direction from the original tale, but, for me, it came across as feeling forced.
I enjoyed Runa’s journey from describing her identity in relation to Alia to realizing that she is her own person. As the novel describes itself as including the bond of sisterhood, I felt this was not as well-written as I expected. It was there, but it gets lost among the rest of the subplots. As Will and Runa spend a lot of time together, their interactions were sweet, but I could not connect to their romance. For me, it needed a lot more to make it believable. Evie’s storyline was great as I felt her journey more after reading her solo story in the previous novel. I do wish there were more chapters dedicated to her journey, but I can see why the author wanted to keep most of the focus on Runa. Overall, this story had a lot of potential, but it just, unfortunately, never got there. As a series, I may check out a new novel if it ever is published, but I do not foresee myself re-reading the duology at any point.