Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I found The Wicked Deep through a recommendation list, and it’d been sitting in my library stack for a while, pushed to the top after its last renewal, and as soon as I finished Wild Beauty, I dove in, eager to explore this debut. So eager, in fact, that I gobbled it up in a matter of hours. I was absolutely captivated by this beautifully written, dark and spooky tale that took place in the small coastal town of Sparrow. If I had to pitch this book to people who haven’t read it, I would sum it up as Hocus Pocus mixed with Ghost, with elements that were surprising but they really worked. Full of magic, suspense, historical elements, and romance, The Wicked Deep is one of my favorite books of 2018! I loved every moment of it, down to the jaw-dropping ending!
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow, where two hundred years ago, the three Swan sisters were drowned for suspected witchery. Now, every summer kicks off the dreaded Swan season, where the women, for a brief time, possess three weak-hearted girls’ bodies so they may wreak their revenge on the town that murdered them, luring boys to the harbor with sweet promises of false love and drowning them. Penny Talbot, a seventeen-year-old local, has long since accepted the fate of her tiny town, resigned to the way things are. But everything changes when a tourist shows up, looking for work. But it turns out that everyone is hiding their own dark secrets, and soon distrust and suspicion spreads throughout the tiny, rainy town, and as the body count climbs, Penny must make the ultimate choice: save Bo, or save herself…
This book was such a pleasant little surprise! What a fun little genre-bender of a debut! As I said, I devoured it in less than a day. The prose was beautiful, and I really enjoyed the format of the book; it was told mainly from Penny’s point of view, but quite often, it switched to the Swan sisters and other residents of the town. The pacing was breakneck; I was both seduced and terrified by the tiny coastal town of Sparrow, steeped in urban legend and old wives’ tales. I also really liked the frightening, claustrophobic atmosphere that Ernshaw created in it. I loved all of the characters, but the standouts were Penny, Bo, Penny’s mother, and of course, the mysterious Swan sisters, capable of casting spells that weren’t from witchcraft, but rather from their own charms. I sped through the book, to the ending that made my jaw drop. That was really the kicker for me; all the twists and turns added up to the ending that felt like nothing less than a kick to the chest. I loved every crazy, beautiful moment of The Wicked Deep, and I’m so excited for what Shea Ernshaw has in store next! The bottom line: A beautiful, creepy novel that captivated me almost against my will, The Wicked Deep was as deep and dark as the ocean itself, and I loved every moment of it! Next on deck: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo!