Hi and welcome under the sea! Today I have three maritime bites for you: a The Little Mermaid retelling, a gothic tale about people of salt and sea and a story about sirens. All right, let’s not dilly-dally on the shore, let’s dive right in!
While Sea Witch was an origin story, Sea Witch Rising is an actual retelling of The Little Mermaid: young mermaid Alia has fallen in love with a human prince who lives by the sea, she’s saved his life and she’s convinced that he’ll realise he’s in love with her the second he lays eyes on her. So she visits Evie, the Sea Witch, and trades her voice in for a couple of legs. She has 4 days to get him to give her true love’s kiss, or else she’ll have to kill him to return to the sea. If she fails at both, she’ll return as nothing more than sea foam. This little mermaid has a twin sister Runa, who foresees Alia’s failure and makes her own pact with the Sea Witch so she can go after her twin and help her.
This is a very imaginative and original retelling. I fell in love with Evie in the first book, and I still love her now. She’s kind but she can’t bend the laws of magic. She doesn’t set Alia up for failure, she genuinely wants to help her. Even with all that she’s been through, she still believes in love and she’s actually rooting for Alia. Between the twin sister going on land too and the Sea King high on drugs and power, the story took turns I never saw coming and I loved every page.
Highly recommended if you’re a sucker for mermaids like I am! I would advise to read Sea Witch first, so you understand the character of Evie better, but both can be read as a standalone too.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig takes us back to the roots of fairy tales, way before all the glamourous Disney princesses, when toes and heels were chopped off and snoozing princesses were taken advantage of and the evil stepmother was a cannibal. Craig paints a dark, eerie picture of a father and his many daughters living in a manor by the sea. Main character Annaleigh has been in mourning for what feels like ages. Not only her mother but several of her sisters have been given back to the sea. Are they cursed or is someone picking them off one by one, and if so, who and why?
House of Salt and Sorrows is a dark and maritime retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses, veering into horror, nothing is what it seems and I loved it start to finish.
Gothic, mysterious, atmospheric, highly recommended!
These Wicked Waters by Emily Layne is probably the most YA of the three. I would have adored this one as a teenager, in fact, when I was a teenager, there were too few books in this genre! Still, as a slightly older reader (ahem) I enjoyed These Wicked Waters too. Main character Annie is on her school holidays and on her way to Viaii Nisi, the island where her mother has just opened a brand new resort. Although Annie actually wanted to go rock climbing in Greece, being on the island and having to help out in the hotel is not that bad, she strikes up a friendship with one of the maids, and one of the lifeguards is most definitely very interesting. But then one of the guests disappears, and so does her friend. Soon her Spidey senses are even more a-tingling: she’s found bones and a weird skeleton and she’s spotted something in the water that surely must be a giant fish but looks a helluvalot like… a mermaid?! Annie is a great character, feisty and independent.
Alternating with Annie’s point of view, there’s the story of Lorelei, a siren who has fallen from grace.
These Wicked Waters is part mystery, part imaginative take on the siren lore, highly entertaining and a quick read. It lost me a bit in the final part of the book, because something happened that I felt was rather unbelievable and over the top, but still it kept me interested and led me to a satisfying finale.
These Wicked Waters is out on 22 October!
Many thanks to Owl Hollow Press and NetGalley for the free eARC! All opinions are my own!
That’s it for today, thanks for joining me under the sea, and for all you Ariel fans out there: