The Cover Wars: Sea Witch Edition

With the exciting, upcoming release of The Sea Witch, a story about a young Ursula, pre-megalomaniacal inclinations, (I AM SO EXCITED) I wanted to look at what other Little Mermaid adaptations are around. — Y

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. — (X)

Yash: I am biased. I am very, very excited to see how Ursula becomes Ursula. I do love a good innocent to anti-hero to villain story. But you know what? The cover is also worth being excited over. That determined look in her eyes? Love it. And those locks of hair that look like tentacles? I’m getting Medusa vibes here. And although the colours are kind of dull, the flashes of purple and the gold lettering really draws the eye to the details in the blues, greens, and greys.

Jane: Oooh, pretty cover. I love the strong, bewitching stare we’re being given here – this is a woman who isn’t afraid to look you right in the eyes and into your soul. I’m a little confused by the back copy, though. So…who are the three friends? There’s Evie and Anna, and two charming princes (wow, what are the odds? Princes seem to be growing like weeds in this part of the world). So who’s the third friend? I do like the fact that the emphasis seems to be on the friendship between the two girls, with the romantic plot being the secondary one.

Nafiza: Let me confess, the tale of the little mermaid is not one of my favourites simply because I don’t see why the mermaid has to sacrifice so much of herself for a man who will never be able to appreciate her and the sacrifices she has made. So, the cover is beautiful and I will likely linger upon it but it alone won’t be enough to make me read the book. And yes, I hear you Jane. The princes grow like weeds here.

Seven emotionless princesses.

Three ghostly sirens.

A beautiful, malicious witch haunted by memories.

A handsome, self-mutilating prince.

Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a troubled human prince, she is driven by love to consult the elusive sea-witch who secretly dominates the entire species of merfolk. Upon paying an enormous price for her humanity, the little mermaid begins a new life, uncovering secrets of sexuality and the Immortal Soul. As a deadly virus threatens to contaminate the bloodstreams of the whole merfolk race, the little mermaid must choose between the lives of her people, the man she loves, or herself.

A complete reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, this is a magical-realist fable that captures the essence of sacrifice and the price of humanity. — (X)

Yash: Okay, fine, I think this cover beats the Sea Witch by just a bit, but only because I am partial to jellyfish. I love the effect of hair/tentacles on these covers. It never occurred to me that this was a Thing until I looked these covers up. Also, I am very interested in this one. Mentions of mental health and sexuality–stuff Hans Christian Anderson dealt with–piques my interest. So, yes, please.

Jane: Wow, this is quite the complex summary! There seems to be so much going on here, in a story crammed full of so many things. A deadly virus? The Immortal Soul? Self-mutilation? Sexuality? Morality v immorality? Wow, this certainly sounds intense. And honestly, much more in line with classic fairy tales than any Disney adaptation. Seriously – classic fairy tales were often dark and twisted af. So, this could be really interesting. The depiction of the mer-people world sounds intriguing – obsessed with beauty, with little morality or humanity – this isn’t the happy happy mermaid world of Disney, and I’m all for it.

Nafiza: Oh this cover is gorgeous. And oh look, another prince. Still, this prince seems to have a personality albeit a destructive one. I hope she chooses herself. I will read some reviews!

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy? — (X)

Yash: Yikes, I am not into love stories where one party is literally famed for hunting the other party’s people. That said, I like that tentacle holding the sword. I weirdly like the idea that people decided to travel with ornate shit that sometimes sank and there is no currency in the ocean, but the fish are–by our standards–hella rich? Anyway, captivating cover, but not so into the story. Oh well.

Jane: Huh. Interesting twist, I guess. The mermaid doesn’t want to become human, but is punished by being transformed into a human, and must try to reverse the curse by literally stealing the prince’s heart. But….yeah, not really feeling this one story-wise, and the cover isn’t really doing that much for me, either. I do kind of wish this was actually about a lethal octopus assassin, though, because octopi are intelligent and crafty and amazing.

Nafiza: One of my friends LOVES this book so I’m going to give it a try. Maybe.

Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding. — (X)

Yash: It’s so pretty?! Is it multiple mediums? Is it photo manipulation and also craft? Because I swear her hair looks so real. I can’t stop looking at the cover. There’s so much detail. *sigh* Anyway, this looks like a more straightforward retelling of the Disney story, I’m hoping it has some of the angst from the original fairytale. Or not. It always seemed sad to me that the little mermaid didn’t have any real friends to help her out.

Jane: Ooooh, I like this cover. My mother comes from a family of red-heads, and I always wished growing up that I had my mother’s red hair, so I could look like the little mermaid. Anyway, this is a beautiful cover, just beautiful. I’m intrigued by the “searing feminist lens” and “scalpel-sharp writing”, as the original tale isn’t particularly kind to its female characters. The cover is so beautiful that it doesn’t necessarily seem like it would be filled with “the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries“, but I do like the sound of that.

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom – until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry – except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy – insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though – swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them … — (X)

Yash: Okay, unlike the last one, this one is a loose adaptation of the little mermaid, but it still fits the bill. Pretty sure I heard good things about this one, but it’s really not for me? Unless! Is there surprise fantasy at the end? If so, I will suffer annoying Christian in order to see Elyse be a mermaid that slaps his face with her tail. 😀

Jane: Alas, definitely not for me. I’m kind of sick of “playboy with a heart of gold” stories – guys shouldn’t get a free pass to be arrogant and insolent and treat people like crap simply because they’re “charming”, and I’m kind of annoyed with the whole “I can change him through the power of love!” female protagonist cliche. Of course, I am not in any way the intended audience for this one, being old and cranky and cynical, and I’ll admit that the cover looks very sweet.