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.
As the prequel to The Little Mermaid, I expected a lot of similarities and I wasn’t let down. That isn’t to say it was bad, in fact the book was an enjoyable easy read. Henning does a wonderful job of crafting the characters and their backstories to connect with the story we all know so well. Nik, the crown prince is slightly naive but hopelessly romantic who wants to believe the best of his friends, even knowing that he must one day marry for duty.
The book focuses on Evelyn (Evie) and her life as someone who is basically living above her status and is ridiculed by the rest of the small town that they live in. Despite that, the novel is historically accurate and it is obvious that Henning has done a lot of research into Denmark and it’s history for this novel which I appreciated.
Along side of Evie is Nik, Annemette a mermaid who has a startling similarity appearance to their dead friend Anna who drowned for years ago and Iver, Nik’s cousin, fellow Prince & Whaler. Annemette, much like in The Little Mermaid has four days to capture the true love of Nik or die.
Despite that, it suffers from slow moving plot especially in the beginning, love square (Nik/Evie, Iver/Evie, (Nik’s cousin) Evie/Annemette, Nik/Annemette) and ‘instant-love’ much like The Little Mermaid as the Prince and Anna have four days to fall in love.
The book picks up a lot in the last third (last 50-100 pages) and was absolutely captivating and sucked me in. Before that, while it was interesting, especially from a historical perspective it fell slightly flat.
Honestly I think my biggest problem is that I was expecting it to be a lot darker than it was given how villainous Ursula is in the movie. It could have also done without half of the romance lines.
I struggled a lot on what to rate this but the ending is what tipped it up to the 3 stars that I’ve given it.