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.
This was the first book for Lit Coven reads of 2019, also the first book I read for the year and I am a bit conflicted about how to rate it.
There were so many things I liked and disliked about this book that it took me a while to process if I liked the book overall or didn’t. So as always I broke it up into what I did and didn’t like about it.
The setting was beautiful but I felt like it lacked a bit of build up. I was constantly trying to figure out if it was our world with magic added to it or a secondary fantasy world but I couldn’t seem to place it. I loved the historical context that is woven into the story, the true history of King Christian IV and the burning of witches under his reign (along with the mention of Maren Spliid) was not unnoticed by me and something that I enjoyed, which again added to my confusion about what world this story was taking place in.
There were times where I felt like Evie was complaining too much about everything but I had to stop myself and realize that they were all still teenagers and the position that Evie was in warranted some complaining. She didn’t belong with her best friends who were richer than her and everyone in her social class hated her for it too. And on top of that, she had to hide the fact that she was a witch from everyone or risk being murdered. I would be complaining as well.
The betrayal in this story was something I really liked but it was spelled out in small chapters between other chapters that when it finally happened I had already seen it coming and it didn’t surprise me at all. It still nice that it included a lot of the original Hans Christian Andersen story and I enjoyed it immensely when I read those little tidbits.
Overall I feel story was a bit slow for my taste and I just didn’t seem to click with it very much. I might have gone into this book with high expectations and thinking that it would be a really dark retelling and it was my fault really. But again the twist isn’t really a twist when a lot of it is spelled out for you in the previous chapters.
I give it three out of five because it was nice to see a villain get a backstory.