I was super excited to read Rise of the Sea Witch! I just love villain evolution stories! I find it incredibly interesting to see what makes a villain a villain, I feel like 90% of the time villains are made, not born. And who’s story better to get than Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid?!
Ursula definitely falls into the 90%, she was not born Ursula the Sea Witch, she was born Princes Vanessa, daughter of Poseidon, big sister to Prince Triton. Vanessa definitely didn’t have things as easy as you would anticipate a Princess having. At an early age, after the death of her mother, it was painfully obvious that Poseidon was not the hands-on, loving parent that the kids so desperately needed. And it was apparent that Vanessa drew his ire more than anyone (the real juicy bit is why though!!).
I feel like Poseidon’s indifference to Vanessa only pushed her more to impress him and do everything, and anything, to just once feel like she mattered. It drove her to work as hard as she could to be his successor as Ruler of Atlantica. More often than not in this endeavor I feel as if Vanessa’s intentions were good(ish) but they ultimately lead to her downfall nevertheless.
Vanessa wasn’t the purest, or sweetest, or the most thoughtful person, at times she could be downright selfish, entitled, and vindictive, but to be honest I feel like this endeared me to her even more. It made her feel more real to me. And it also made it hurt that much more when things inevitably came back to burn her, tenfold. I didn’t always agree with her choices but I did come to understand why she made them. To be honest, by the end I was furious for Vanessa, a little part of me thought her a little justified in her craving for vengeance.
I also really liked how the story was told, with Ursula telling her victims, who had no choice but to listen, how she was wronged and what drove her to help the “poor unfortunate souls” like them. It was both sad and glorious to see the Ursula we know, dramatically telling this woe-is-me tale to none other than the mer-people that she had imprisoned.
I was really pumped to read this story and I am so glad I did because it exceeded my expectations! If any of this sounds even a bit intriguing to you, I highly recommend giving this one a try!