The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was another short lesbian-themed romance I picked up for free on my Kindle. (Didn't see it free last time, so maybe it's limited time?) The cover was also lovely and the overall plot was fantasy, so I was immediately intrigued.
"The Witch Sea" is the legend of Meriel, a third-generation witch who lives captive on an island, upholding a spell her grandmother put in place decades before against the sea-creature Galo. The legend implies that Galo turned human and went ashore in order to destroy humanity with his legions of marine life soldiers. Meriel's grandmother cast a spell barring Galo and his followers from entering the sea again, but it must be maintained via a silver net that keeps sea creatures from reaching shore and turning into another member of Galo's "army."
However, one seal makes it through one night and becomes the woman Nor, whom Galo sends every day to try and barter with Meriel for a lift of the curse. Over the course of the story Meriel realizes how lonely she's been her whole life and that she doesn't know if she believes in her grandmother's mission. And, of course, she's falling in love with Nor.
The highlight of this story is watching Meriel come undone, from the first moments she begins to doubt her road in life, to the final seconds when she realizes how much she desires companionship for once in her life. The development is thus watching Meriel go from spell-casting drone to a woman with her own hopes and wants. The author does a great job of showing this change happen, and it's both believable and sympathetic.
This isn't a story about sex, or even romance at the core of it. It's about one woman (erm, seal?) showing another that the world is more than what she's been raised to believe. Obviously this reflects our own, not-so-fantastical world, but achieves it with a whimsical tale that reads like it's straight out of classic legend. However, those looking to read this book to find a great lesbian romance will probably be disappointed. That's not a slight to the story, but a warning to readers looking for a light-hearted and sexy read. Cause that ain't this.
My only real issue with the story was in the sentence constructions. There are a lot of wordy sentences that are quite confusing to read at first. Overall I thought the editing was done well, but I question letting the wordiness get through in such large amounts. Otherwise that's my only gripe, and once you get used to it, it doesn't really detract from enjoying the story. You just might have to read things a few times.
I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys women making changes in their lives...with a fantasy setting. I'll be looking up the author's other works since I enjoyed this one so much.
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