The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Non Spoiler Review



Book: The Wicked Deep

Author: Shea Ernshaw

Pages: 320

Genre: YA Paranormal, fantasy

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

I read The Wicked Deep as part of a buddy read hosted by Julie at Pages and Pens on twitter with Melanie at Meltotheany, Lilly at Lair of Books, Jules at JA Ironside, Chelsea Palmer, and Paloma!

I must be lucky, because I’ve had an awesome reading month so far. I’m always up for a buddy read with these awesome ladies. They’re always such a joy to discuss books with! We laughed, we cried, and as Melanie put it, we put our FBI hats on to try to predict all the spooky twists.

“The Swan sisters are collectors of boys. Seducers. Once they have each taken a girl’s body… the drowning begins.”

The Wicked Deep is a paranormal, atmospheric read set in present day Oregon, in a small town called Sparrow. Two hundred years ago, three sisters (known as the Swan sisters) were accused of witch craft and executed by drowning. Now in present day, the town of Sparrow prepares for the Swan season: Every June 1st until the summer solstice, the Swan sisters will inhabit the body of a girl and then lure boys to their deaths in the harbor.

“They don’t inhabit bodies just to be alive again; they do it for revenge.”

Penny is the main protagonist. She’s a high school junior who does everything she can to avoid getting caught up in the Swan season. But then the town is flooded with tourists, and a mysterious boy named Bo arrives. He becomes entangled in the town’s lore, all while remaining skeptical. But he has secrets of his own, and Penny cannot reveal her own secrets either.

As you can tell from my rating, I loved this book. The setting pulled me in immediately. I am a huge fan of books that take place in small towns that contain some spooky lore. I am from one myself, so while the book may be haunting and mysterious, the overall ambiance reminded me of home.  And it was strangely cozy to me.

As usual, here are my thoughts on what I liked and disliked.

The Good:

  • The setting. Sparrow is a haunted town. While this book may be a great read during Halloween, it is interesting that it is set in June. I don’t associate paranormal books with summer, so this was a very unique change for me. Also Sparrow is a coastal town, so the wickedness of the sea is always present.
  • The legend. I love how the lore of the Swan sisters and witch craft were the constant focal points of the story. Everyone in town believed and accepted it, to the point where I grew a bit concerned about how they allowed things to get so out of hand (more on that below).
  • The romance. There are a few romances in the book, and all of them tore at my heart strings. Seriously, I will get teary-eyed if I keep talking about it. There is a bit of insta-love but I think the author created a good balance between a new romance while staying true to the mysterious elements of the story.
  • The writing. Ernshaw’s writing is magical, beautiful, and realistic. I could feel myself completely immersed in Sparrow. I could feel the wind chill, see the fog, taste the fruit and cakes, and smell the bonfires. I was also continuously guessing the twists and felt like I couldn’t trust anybody. That makes for a good story in my opinion!

The Bad:

  • While I loved Bo, I wish his character had more dimension. He is a very mysterious character, and I felt like we didn’t get enough of him.
  • Without saying any spoilers, I wanted to address a certain part in the book that bothered me because someone was used in a very personal way. While I know this book’s entire premise is based around spirits inhabiting a body, this particular scene rubbed me the wrong way.
  • The nonchalant attitude of the adults in Sparrow. Like, boys are drowning. Maybe try a little harder to protect them? Put everyone on lockdown for a few weeks? Call the coast guard? LOL SOMETHING!?

Overall, this was another 5 star read for me! I loved the journey this book took me on, the romance, the town, the legends. I’m in such a witchy mood that I now need to read all the witchy books! So, hit me up. Tell me some of your witchy or paranormal favorites! If you decide to read The Wicked Deep, please let me know your thoughts. Happy reading!




11 thoughts on “The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Non Spoiler Review

  1. YASSSS! & I seriously LOL’d at Mel’s ” FBI hats” smh haha! I loved reading this book with you lovely ladies. I am still in my feels over that ending. The atmospheric writing is so fresh in my mind I hope it’s enough for Netflix to do it right. I’d eat a slice of Forgetful cake if it meant I could re-experience this read as if it were my 1st time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing review, love. And LOL and PREACH at “call the coastguard or something?” Because… like… I promise you, if I lived there, I’d be vacationing the entire month of June. I can’t wait for our next buddy read(s), and thank you so much for doing this one with me! 💕xx

    Liked by 1 person

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