The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon Pulse, Expected March 2018
Genre: YA, Paranormal
I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A GOOD WITCH STORY. And when I heard the pitch for The Wicked Deep, that it’s like Hocus Pocus meets the Salem witch trials? Umm, YAS. In a lot of ways, this book does not disappoint.
Can we please be real about how gorgeous this cover is? Come on.
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.
The Premise of The Wicked Deep is what drew me in immediately. I LOVED the idea of more modern witch trials, especially because it has so many modern implications. And those implications are definitely explored in this book. With boys dying, the people of Sparrow go on literal witch hunts. But how important is it to get the right girl? Has that ever been the point? I hoped these ideas would be tested, and they are!
Is. Absolutely. Stunning.
The world-building? Insane. I feel Sparrow. I know it. I could draw it. And Lumiere Island, where our narrator lives. I don’t like boats and water creeps me out, but with these descriptions I can smell the sea, I can feel the boat rocking. I can hear the sisters singing, luring people into the water.
The Wicked Deep is eerie as hell. And given the subject matter? It absolutely should be. Teens drowning. Witches come back to life. I love feeling genuinely creeped out, and this book does it for me.
The pacing is on point. The book grabbed my attention from page one, and I read the whole thing in one sitting, other than a short break for dinner.
There are moments where I could not catch my breath, and others where I gasped aloud. One of the best compliments I can give!
The characters are the one area of The Wicked Deep that fell a little short for me, and the only area I’m not giving 100% love to.
The Swan sisters are awesome. We see them in action both in third person past tense, and through the eyes of our narrator in the current story line. For me, they’re amazing. Ultra believable. Their rage feels real, their quest for revenge makes sense to me.
Sadly I don’t love our two main characters. Their love story is, for me, a little too much, bordering on nonsensical. I don’t love it in theory or practice, and given that they’re our mc’s, they (rightfully) get a lot of page time.
I would, and will, read more from Shea Ernshaw.
The Wicked Deep is an amazing read. Stellar pacing, stunning world-building, and some really kick ass witches make for a quick, excellent read!
Each of these gorgeous photos links to the IG post, show these people some love!
*I don’t own any of the photos used for aesthetics in this post. Each photo links to where I found it!*