Hannah’s Novel Notions: A Review of The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Schultz

I bet you think you know the story of Ariel. We’ve seen the movie: The red-haired mermaid sells her voice to a sea witch to meet a prince she’s never talked to before, she has adventures, things go downhill (because nobody saw that coming), but after some epic music and acts of true love she marries her prince and they live happily ever after.

Some of you may laugh and say, “Naw, that’s not the true story!” The true Hans Christian Anderson one involves a non-evil rival who ends up marrying the Prince instead of the little mermaid who, in turn, throws herself into the sea and becomes immortal.

But I have news for you: That’s not the real story, either.

Nope. The real story is very, very different. The Little Mermaid isn’t what she seems.

Of course, you probably aren’t aware of this real story. Nick Beasley wasn’t, either. Who’s Nick Beasley? you ask. Only the hilariously put-upon character from the extremely epic series: Beaumont and Beasley. He makes his second appearance in book 2 of this series: The Tomb of the Sea Witch. And man, does the true story of Ariel really put a wrench in his plans.

Nick Beasley used to spend his days trying to disprove magic. Now he’s cursed to live in beast-form and spends his days seeking out magic to turn him back. He is, of course, not very happy about this fact. Fortunately, he does have help. Unfortunately, this help comes in the form of his brother Crispin, a novice magician, and Lady Cordelia, a quirky and rebellious enchantress.

He isn’t too pleased when Cordelia and Crispin rope him into going undercover in a magical school for anti-hero enchanters and enchantresses. But it may give him the key to returning to his human form, so he plays along.

They go in search of an ancient spell connected to the story of the Sea Witch and the Little Mermaid because Cordelia is sure – kind of – that it will break his curse. And then things get weird. Weird even for the detective-turned-beast.

As it turns out, the Sea Witch didn’t die like the traditional Little Mermaid tale said. In fact, she is very much alive. And not at all like the story said she was. The ensuing chaos may just put a kink in Nick’s return-to-human-form plan.

Now, it’s not like I’m a huge fan of the Little Mermaid. I don’t own the movie, collect the plush toys and figurines, or own the book. I’m not a child. Oh. Wait.

Yep. Those are all mine. I take it back. I am a Little Mermaid fan.

So when I heard that one of the funniest indie authors on the planet was going to write a fairytale-retelling of this story, I was on board. Or on ship? Under water? Whatever. The point is: I was excited.

My excitement was not misplaced. This novel was even funnier than the first, which is saying something because the first one is amazing. It contained more Crispin, more grumpy Nick, more crazy Cordelia. It had multiple Little Mermaid references and some other great nerd references to boot.

I’m fell even more deeply in love with this series. Here’s why:

I love the relationships. Nick and Crispin have an adorable, believable brother-brother relationship full of sarcasm, ridicule, annoyance, and love. Nick and Cordelia have an unspoken thing between them that is adorable and funny. Crispin and Cordelia both have quirky, playful traits while Nick is a bit more…erm…Eeyoreish (shhhh. That’s a word now) and it makes for excellent character dynamics.

Oh, and let’s not forget the world-building. The Beaumont and Beasley series is the definition of clever world-building, especially The Tomb of the Sea Witch. It has everything: A magical school for anti-heroes…in case you ever wondered where anti-heroes come from: they come from Slytherin and The Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic. A whole fascinating backstory for merpeople…in case you ever wondered what the true story of the Little Mermaid is. A plethora of interesting magical creatures…in case, for instance, you ever wondered how a dryad with anger issues behaves (hint: It’s hilarious).

Now, I had some slight issues with the story. Namely: the Crispin-Molly romance. It went a bit too fast for me to be able to fully believe it. However, Crispin is the type of character who seems to be an all-or-nothing guy, so maybe that was the angle.

I also thought that parts felt a bit drawn out, and others a bit too fast. There were a lot of new characters, dangers, and concepts that were introduced and some of them felt more shallow than others (such as one of the battles and some of the dreams).

That being said, this is a series and I have no doubt that much of this will be fleshed out later. And, because all of this was written in an entertaining and charming way, I really didn’t mind the slower parts.

To put it simply: Schultz has the type of writing style that could turn a grocery list into a merry adventure that I would greatly want to be a part of.  This means that The Tomb of the Sea Witch is witty. The characters are gloriously humorous and sarcastic. The world-building is cleverly fun. The writing style is an awesomely understated type of humor. The series has officially become the type of series that I will blindly buy and read simply because it’s Beaumont and Beasley book.

It’s a new favorite fandom that I am excited to be a part of, and I think you should join, too. In fact, you need to join. You will not be sorry. The first book is here and the second book is here. Go read them. Now. Right now. Done? Okay. Now what did you think? I told you they were good.






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