Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Image result for sea witch by sarah henningEveryone knows what happens in the end. True love and a kiss but before that, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Evie has been reviled since the death of her best friend, Anna. But when a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend survived. Maybe her magic isn’t useless after all. As the girls catch the eyes of two handsome princes Evie believes that maybe a happily ever after is possible.

But Evie’s friend has secrets of her own and she can’t stay on land without Evie’s help. 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 and the gravity of hidden secrets.

Recently backstories for the villains of popular fairy tales have surfaced and Sea Witch was a prime example of this and it was wonderfully done. The tale explores the backstory of the Sea Witch in the little mermaid. Sweeping its way through the mind it brought to life a girl whose ultimate sacrifice led to her becoming a famed monster. I could not put this book down as the story leaped before my eyes.

Image result for lucifer gif"The characters of the tale were vivid, to say the least. Evie, the central character is a witch who hides her powers from everyone. She is friends with a prince and she is reviled for this along with her being the survivor of a tragedy in which her friend lost her life. The strength of her character showed for she moved beyond the pain of the past and was willing to do anything for a friend. She denied the truth in some areas of her life and by the end we empathize with the sea witch and we feel the pain of being a lonely oddity. It was heartrending to watch her on her journey and the ending of the book left me sorrowful and unable to ever read the little mermaid without feeling for the sea witch.

The other characters added to the tale in their own unique ways creating a wonderful revenge basis for the story. The particular villain for this tale sought revenge for a life unlived and chances lost due to the people closest to her. I will be honest in the fact that I always suspected her character of evil despite the facade she put up for most of the book. However, I did not truly understand the depth or reasoning behind her acts until it was all explained during the grand climax. The two princes created a contrast that had me loving Nik and hating Iker. I adored Nik for his sweetness and obvious jealousy over Evie while I abhorred Iker knowing Evie was just a passing fancy, one in many.

Image result for sherlock gif love it"I loved how the author truly built a world for the tale of the little mermaid. We see little of the sea but we grow to understand the kingdom and their worship of the sea. In a world built for nobles, a poor witch rises and eventually becomes one of the most feared villains of all time.

I would highly recommend this book. I have read some backstories for the villains of fairy tales but I would have to say that this is one of my favorites. All lovers of the little mermaid should read this and examine the backstory of a woman who lost much and gained little despite the power she holds.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Image result for beauty by robin mckinleyBeauty is a nickname for a girl who is as awkward as her sisters are gorgeous.  But her courage may make up for that as she goes forth to keep a terrible promise.  A promise made by her father to a horrifying beast.  But as she fulfills her promise she finds that maybe a beast can be tamed.

Beauty is yet another retelling of the infamous tale of Beauty and the Beast.  This was another interesting take on the story.  It was not horrible but I have read better versions of the story.  One of the main reasons I picked it up was because of its cover and the length of the book which was short.  However, the promise of greatness was not completely fulfilled.  The background and world building were gorgeous and the characters were great but there were a few instances where I hated the book.

The world-building was vibrant, to say the least.  The new take on the castle, the woods, and Beauty’s background was phenomenal.  I adored how the sisters were not mean and the ingenuity of the magic of the castle where every nuance of the castle is run by magic.  The invisible servants added extra luster to the tale and I quite enjoyed the background of the story.

The characters were also stunning.   The main character was not a beauty, she adored books and horses and was easy to connect to.  Even in his own way the Beast won me over as a reader through his sweet nature.  Furthermore, I loved Beauty’s family who supported her and she them through thick and thin.

Image result for im sorry I just cant gifHowever, these could only make up so much for the details I hated.  First of all, the ending.  It was short and rushed. One moment Beauty admits she loves the Beast and then everything just explodes.  Her family is suddenly there and her father’s in love along with her sister and all these people just appear.  Another thing was how old the Beast was.  He admitted that he aged one year for every ten meaning that he had aged twenty years so if he was twenty when he was cursed he is like forty and Beauty is like maybe twenty.  That is a huge age gap which I’m not totally against but I kind of am.  Not to mention the romance wasn’t developed very well and in comparison to other retellings, it was weak.

Due to all of this, I can’t say I loved the book but I am still glad I read it.  I’m just not sure how many more retellings of this timeless tale I am going to read for it is honestly getting kind of old.

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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Zahra has been trapped in her lamp for thousands of years until a young thief by the name of Aladdin rubs her lamp and becomes her master.  She is shoved into a greatly changed world where her magic and she is forbidden.  In order to survive, she must use her shapeshifting magic until Aladdin uses his three wishes.  When the King of Jinn offers her freedom if she saves his son she seizes onto the opportunity.  Except she finds that she is falling in love with Aladdin.  She will have to betray him to get the freedom she seeks.  As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire.  But which will win, her desire for freedom or her love for Aladdin?

The Forbidden Wish was a wonderful retelling of Aladdin.  I loved how it was not from the point of view of Aladdin but that of the Jinni, Zahra.   Zahra was a wonderful character who was easy to love.  It was effortless to relate to her feeling of being trapped because sometimes we all feel trapped.  Zahra was filled with thousands of years of pain and regret and the reader watched as she struggled to overcome the past that plagued her.

The book conveyed the meaning of being at the mercy of others, of being trapped and unable to escape.  I think it helped me to understand how it would truly feel to be a Jinni of the lamp who could grant powerful wishes but never leave and was always under the command of others.

The other characters were each uniquely stunning in their own ways.  Aladdin was a thief determined not to become the leader the people wanted him to be.  The princess and her companions were awesome because it was unexpected to see young women in such a society behave as they did.  The other characters added their own personalities and touches to parts of the book making it burst full of life.

Beyond the colorful characters the book was filled with descriptions of a wonderful and magical world.  A world of bazaars and trees that carried the fruit of gems such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.  It was sensational to read of all the things that magic had wrought in the book’s setting.

Overall the book was an enchanting retelling of the classic tale of Aladdin.  I would exceedingly recommend this book for the writing style and voice express the pain, anger, regret, joys, and sadness of an infinite being: the Jinni.

“As the poets say, stories are truth told through lies.”   – The Forbidden Wish.  Read this book and see the truth behind the story of an infinite tale that has withstood the ravages of time.