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Sea Witch by: Sarah Henning

November 7, 2018

Have you ever wondered how Disney villains became their infamous selves and how they would justify their wicked deeds? Sarah Hennings answers these questions in her novel, Sea Witch, using magic, flashbacks, and first-person narration to tell the tragedy filled origin story of The Little Mermaid’s featured villain, Ursula. Young Ursula or, Evie, as she is named in the book, is a young witch who lives in a small fishing kingdom in Denmark, where magic is illegal. Evie’s father the royal fisherman and her aunt, the healer of kings, allow her to remain friends with young Prince Nik even has they reach adolescence. After almost drowning and losing her friend Anna in the process, Evie attempts to use her magic to save Anna, with no prevail. With the help of her good friend Prince Nik and her potential love interest Prince Iker of Norway, Evie has finally moved on from that fateful day, that is until she spots a mysterious figure resembling her late friend through a ship’s port hole. When a mermaid by the name of Anne Mette arrives in Harvested seemingly out of the blue, Evie, unaware of the foul play at hand, vows to help her late friend’s look-a-like win prince Nik’s heart.
Sea Witch is a compelling story of magic, love, betrayal, friendship, self-discovery, loyalty, truth and revenge. Henning brilliantly included a parallel to the Little Mermaid story we all know and love in her writing to further solidify as well as justify Evie’s transformation into the infamous Ursula. Exquisitely crafted flash backs and foreshadowing in various points of view, allow the reader to understand how each character thinks, creating empathy and panic in the reader as he or she learns things about certain characters that are unknown to those closest to them. Hennings leaves little to be desired as she answers the burning question, “why would Ursula take Ariel’s voice?”, the answer being, that Evie saw firsthand the damage a land bound mermaid with the capability of lying has, as it was a mermaid of such nature that Evie gave up her life to stop in her earlier years. I have read many books such as, Sea Witch, in which an author tries to fill in the gaping holes surrounding famous villains and, Henning has crafted an origin story that stands second only to the legendary Wicked.

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