Blog Tour & Review||Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke

Rise of the Sea Witch
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: June 19th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.

Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.

When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.

Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.

Goodreads / Amazon

I am a host for the Blog Tour of Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke.

I want to thank the author and Xpressobookreviews for sending me this book! It was a pleasure reading it.

A book about Ursula and her past – quite a unique perspective.

The review contains some spoilers, but if you know the Little Mermaid, you already know this stuff! Let’s begin!


In a few words, this novel is about the making of Ursula the Sea Witch. It explores her past, her childhood, and her relationship with her parents and brother. Vanessa wants to take her father’s place on the throne, but for some reason, Poseidon has only eyes for Triton. And since Vanessa wants to earn her father’s love, respect, and acceptance, she always tries to be the best and to impress him. Her desperation leads her to do some mistakes that are punished severely. However, what pushed Vanessa over the edge was not her father, but her step-mother and Triton’s betrayal. (by the way, since Triton gave a direct royal order for Vanessa to do the spell, why did he ask her why she did it if she wasn’t sure it would work? I mean, from what I understood, when Triton gave the order, Vanessa was compelled by some form of subtle magic to obey her King, right?).

I would’ve liked to know more about Vanessa’s friend and potential lover (Alastor). What exactly happened to him? Why didn’t she find him? Where did he go? I think this sub-plot ended pretty abruptly. Also, the voices Ursula hears at the end – are those real ghosts or something else is going on there? I think some sub-plots/ideas ended too soon or abruptly.

Overall, the plot is pretty good. It draws the reader in, and the fast pace keeps the reader’s attention.


The story is told from Ursula’s point of view. She tells her backstory, she’s the one remembering the past – in other words, she is the narrator.

A little bit about the most important characters:

Vanessa – a princess with magical abilities. She is the daughter of Poseidon and Triton’s bigger sister. And since Triton is Ariel’s father, I suppose that makes her, Ursula, Ariel’s aunt, right?

Vanessa is driven, ambitious, and kind. However, her father’s lack of attention and love affects her greatly. I would say Poseidon was quite cruel to her – when cold, when absurdly strict.  Either way, her story is pretty tragic and fascinating at the same time. I wonder – maybe things might’ve turned differently if Vanessa told someone what she found out about herself and her mother from Poseidon? Hmm…

Ursula – the Sea Witch. Since she’s the storyteller, she adds her own comments before or after a chapter/event happened. I really like this style.

However, Ursula becomes the main character after Vanessa’s transformation, towards the end of the book. We get to read her escape from the kingdom, and her struggle to remain Vanessa – at least a little bit. But, in the end, Vanessa is gone for good, and Ursula takes the stage.

Triton – kind, immature, goofy. He is a good brother to Vanessa, up until his throne is on the line. I am surprised that he does not take any form of responsibility for what happened. I mean, he gave the order! Pf. I also wonder if he was honest towards the end when he went to see Ursula. I like to think that he was…

Poseidon – the reason why he is cold towards Vanessa is understandable – to an extent. I mean, not many people would’ve been happy if they were in his position. However, the way he handled the situation was completely wrong.



This novel does not have a lot of romance. Vanessa loves the son of her maiden, Alastor, and he loves her back. They knew each other since they were kids, and they’re scenes are lovely. However, they do not end up together – they’re journey ends up quite abruptly.


I really enjoyed reading this novel, especially since I like it when the villains are the main characters of a story- it’s a great change. However, I would’ve like to read more from Ursula’s perspective. How Vanessa becomes Ursula is very interesting, but I didn’t like how fast it ended. It’s not the novel’s fault. thou – I didn’t want the story to end, and my head was full of ideas about possible twists. 🙂


Definitely! Rise of the Sea Witch by Rourke is really captivating, and Ursula’s backstory is very interesting. I think everyone who likes the Little Mermaid (book, Disney film, Once Upon A Time Series etc) and mermaids will enjoy this book as much as I did. I recommend it to everyone who enjoyes retelling, fairy tails, YA, and fantasy.




Author Bio:

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel

Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012

Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013

Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter




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