Jaci Miller's Reviews > The Rise of Ersyla

The Rise of Ersyla by J.M.  Sullivan
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The Rise of Ersyla is an origin story and a new spin on a classic villain.

Ersyla, the sea witch from The Little Mermaid, is the protagonist in Sullivan’s novella. It’s a tale exploring her unique childhood in a time when magic is forbidden, and fear and ignorance are a catalyst for tragedy.

Initially, I found the protagonist sometimes unlikable, a shallow character who is often unkind and spiteful to her best friend. As the story progresses, Ersyla must face the consequences of her actions, and the ensuing self-awareness makes her more relatable and empathetic. From this point, a chain reaction of events accumulates to drive a major character shift. Thus, begins Ersyla’s transformation from innocent youth to the iconic sea witch we love to hate.

I enjoyed the dark atmosphere that Sullivan incorporates into her story. Drifting away from Disney’s lighthearted telling, she provides a version layered with tension. The characters, plot, and tone contribute to the sense of dread hovering in the periphery of the story. It’s a clever foreshadowing of the villainous sea witch Ersyla is to become.

Sullivan has a knack for creating fairy-tale stories that hearken back to the darker, more adult versions established by the Brothers Grimm. Her unique sense for ambiance highlights her writing style; encapsulates the characters and their actions, saturates the tone, and catches the reader’s attention.

The Rise of Ersyla is a tale full of societal ambivalence, fear-driven actions, and damning consequences. If you love dark stories that offer a glimpse into your favorite childhood fabled villains, this one is for you.

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Reading Progress

March 10, 2018 – Started Reading
March 10, 2018 – Shelved
March 10, 2018 –
March 12, 2018 –
March 13, 2018 –
March 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

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