Title: The Sea Witch
Author: Bethany Hoeflich
Publication Date: February 21, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Length: 30 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author.
Rating: 3 Stars
For years, Ula has been content to hide behind her reputation as the sea queen’s quirky, loner sister.
Isolation and mistrust are her shields, protecting the secrets of her past from resurfacing.
When the sea king offers her the position of court sorcerer, Ula sees an opportunity to reclaim what had been stolen from her.
How could she anticipate it would cost her everything?
The Sea Witch is a villainous short story inspired by The Little Mermaid.
Content Warning: Blood and death of a parent. I will not be discussing these topics in my review.
Villains come in all shapes and sizes.
I enjoyed seeing how the world building unfolded. There was just enough of it in this tale for me to develop a good sense of what this mermaid society was like and why Ula was so frustrated with her lot in life. The smallest changes in a mermaid’s life could lead to radically different outcomes years later, so it was important to put all of these pieces together during the short time I had with her. If the author ever decides to write a sequel, I’d sure like to take a deeper dive into this society and the unique mermaids who are part of it.
It would have been helpful to have more character development, especially when it concerned Ula. She was such an intelligent and resourceful individual that I found it difficult to understand some of her choices. I could think of so many other ways for her to resolve the conflicts in her life and achieve her goals. It puzzled me to see how often she skipped ahead to more drastic measures when she had so many other options to choose from. I would have liked to get to know her better so that these decisions and her thought processes behind them would make more sense.
Magic was both an art and a science in this universe. It’s effects could generally be predicted in advance, but any mermaid worth his or her fins knew that it was impossible to predict every possible outcome if one ventured down this path. It was amusing to see how Ula had learned to cope with the unpredictable elements of her occupation while also doing everything she could to get the desired results when she cast a spell. The author struck a nice balance between describing how all of this worked and allowing readers to fill in other pieces of puzzle for ourselves.
The Sea Witch was a fun summer read.