The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Read Hardcover, 320 pages
(4 / 5)
Summary (via Goodreads)
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
Going into The Wicked Deep I was very much under the impression of it being kind of like the film Hocus Pocus. While I can, in some ways, see some similarities, this book stands on its own very well and I felt for a book centered on the idea of witches, it was done in a seemingly unique way. I deeply enjoyed the vibe of this book and how the story was constructed, as well as the writing style. The plot flowed very nicely, it did not have any “fluff”/filler in it. Each event, plot twist and turn felt, for the most part, natural. I also felt invested in the main characters of Penny, Bo and the three sisters drowned centuries ago for the crime of witchcraft. To me this is very important to me when it comes to a book. If I do not feel invested in a character or characters, it is hard for me to continue with a book. Whether a protagonist or antagonist, character building is key and this book had it.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed is the concept of witchcraft and the idea of witches. The people that executed the Swan sisters took them for witches because they supposedly cast spells, made potions, and cursed men; however, the book went beyond those typical ideas of what many think of witches. I feel like it took on the kind of magic that you read in books like Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. You get a sense that these women are witches, but it is hard to definitively say because it is only in sensing something, a feeling in the gut. That is what I love in a story about witches, or I should say supposed witches, because people get those feelings “in real life” so to speak. The author really uses those feelings to get a reader interested- though of course there is that paranormal aspect of the sisters coming back each summer, so I feel like you get the best of both.
Overall, I think The Wicked Deep is a solid book. There were minor things that made me take a star off my rating, such as the insta-love in the book (a trope that I have great difficulties with). But again, the book was well done. I look forward to what Shea Ernshaw comes up with next.