Everyone knows what happens in the end.A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.One feared, one royal, and one already dead.
Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.
A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.
The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.
AUTHOR: Sarah Henning
PUBLICATION DATE: July 31 2018
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
ORIGIN STORY OF THIS CHILDHOOD VILLAIN?! so let’s go back back baaaaaack to where it all began
The synopsis is really self explanatory so I won’t get into it again. This book was really not what I was expecting. I went into it comparing it to Marissa Meyer’s ‘Heartless’ which is a darker tale of a rise of a villainess and I expected this book to be a similar dark retelling. But instead I got a quick, pretty easy going historical tale about love and friendship. I can’t say much without spoiling.
I think my main issue with this book was the protagonist, Evie. There’s nothing I hated about her but I didn’t get attached to her either. And if the central plot line of your story is how your character became a certain way (how Evie became Ursula) then the focus and character development should be prioritised. The events that lead to the change are important too don’t get me wrong but seeing the change in the protagonist is more important. So it’s not that Evie was a bad character she was just underdeveloped and not central to the plot which is what she should have been. But I did change my opinion of her in the last two chapters-that was phenomenal.
Though two things stood out with Evie, one I hated and one I loved. I hated, absolutely hated, her relationship with Iker. I hated Iker from the beginning and the romance was just slapped on at the beginning out of nowhere then pulled around in a different directions just as fast and senselessly. There was no development to their relationship. And Evie was disgustingly drooling after him like a love sick puppy.
I can say that I loved that she’s a good friend to Nik and wants to help Annette. And that’s one of the best things in this book-the friendship. I loved, loved it especially between Nik and Evie. It was just so easy and fun and perfect and you could tell how much they cared about each other.
As for the other characters I wasn’t particularly attached to any of them except for Nik. God he was just such a cutie and I liked his vulnerability. He was so protective of Evie and it just warmed my heart!!
The background was really well written and the author did a great job at accurately writing a historical setting, especially when it came to the people’s reaction to Evie’s friendship with Nik because she was poor. But it was really lacking in tales and legends, that part only appears at the ending of the book but it was not enough. That part of the story, especially Evie’s magic background needed much more weight. In the end I found myself a bit confused about the magic in the book because it didn’t seem to link smoothly to the mermaid parts.
The book only started gripping me at about 60% through and I remember checking my kindle to see what percentage in I was and how much time it took to really get to me. There was a good twist that pumped up the whole story and made you want to keep reading. So overall I think it was a great story, but I don’t think it managed to really meet expectations when it was marketed as a retelling of Ursula.
Things get a bit nonsensical in the end even though the last two chapters were amazing in terms of action but the tiny things like the romance just became an illogical whirlwind (even though I was happy about it). I LOVED the last two chapters, it was really well written and cool interpretation of the little Mermaid.
There is a pretty good buildup of tension and suspense from the 3rd person chapters. The writing was honestly excellent and was the best thing about this book. The author is clearly really talented because those chapters especially were nothing short of beautiful! They really felt like I was reading a fairytale!
Overall it was an okay book but I felt like there was a huge chunk of it missing like legends, more character for Evie and much much much MORE development on the romance towards the end of the book, because there is a twist and it’s an amazing one that I wanted to happen all along but then it’s just left there. It’s not provoked or pursued it just IS. And for a book about a character that turns evil I think characterisation should have been central. Because it was a good solid plot, with a cool twist BUT the main part of the story which is the protagonist was flat.
There are quite a bit of mixed review so you never know, this book might end up being one of your favourites!! Especially if you liked Aquamarine!
I do have to mention, that is honestly one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen!!! It’s done by Escume and you can check out more of her work on Deviant Art here.
Hope you guys had a lovely week :D!