The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (2018)
YA Fiction | Paranormal
“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.”
pooled ink Review:
Okay…this book was good but I also have thoughts…
First of all the cover for this book is beautiful. It shimmers and is just perfect!
But as for the story…
Overall the writing was perfect for this story. It danced between a well-worn legend and a modern love story and throughout it all was this undeniable sense of tragedy both for the past and the future. Absolutely lovely storytelling and I admit this take on witches was intriguing from start to finish.
It’s also the perfect length. Long enough to establish characters, an eerie atmosphere, and drag out the mystery of the curse, but not so long as to bore you to death. When any sort of mystery takes too long to feed me clues and deliver a resolution it instantly becomes a DNF for me because I’ve fallen asleep and have lost all care.
My only issue is with the ending. Well, not really the ending, but what comes after the ending. And here I warn you of spoilers (I just really want to blurt out my feelings and therefore don’t care about writing a spoiler-free review this time. Sorry.)
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
While the love story between Bo and Penny was sweet and slow like the summer sea, the ending was tragic and partially unsatisfying. MAJOR spoiler (although it wasn’t hard to guess) Penny is inhabited by Hazel Swan and it is Hazel with whom Bo falls in love with. In the end to break the curse Hazel drowns herself. This was tragic but I understood it (It’s not like she could keep Penny’s body forever and only in a Disney movie would she magically get some new body for her own). That’s not what bothers me actually (although like a true Disney child I would have preferred some sort of happily ever after lol). What bothers me is Bo.
After Hazel drowns and sets the town free of the Swan sisters he begins to seemingly fall in love with the real Penny (who, as a gift from Hazel, was allowed to retain the happy memories Hazel made with Bo while inhabiting Penny’s body) but Hazel’s ghost still lingers on the island. She visits Bo and he feels her and they still love each other. Like dude, if you’re gonna keep loving Hazel then leave Penny alone. I hate this. Love-triangles and nonsense like this has never been my cup of tea. I’m super old fashioned and a hopeless selfish romantic I suppose haha I love the idea of true love and soul mates. (Go ahead and laugh.)
Now if Hazel had died and disappeared forever and Bo had moved on and eventually fallen in love with Penny then fine because let’s be real Hazel and Bo only knew each other for a few weeks, but instead his heart continues to love Hazel who lingers while Penny has no idea Hazel was ever even there. I just…sorry, I just don’t like it. It makes me cringe and recoil at the thought even though I do feel terrible for poor Bo (but if I were Penny and I found out it would kill me. It’s just the old-fashioned selfish rare breed of a weirdo that I am I guess).
Erm, also the way the curse is broken…pretty morbid and uh awful for Hazel, no? I guess the book tried to brush aside what was technically suicide by saying it was a blissful strangely easy death but still…not sure how I feel about it. Although I do get it. And when I don’t overanalyze I totally buy it as a solid ending. But then sometimes my brain gets chatty and I end up thinking too much and going hmmm…
All of that aside this was a charming book. Creepy, alluring, and tragic, it’s a summer love story that will have you pondering the dark waters that flow at night. The Wicked Deep is a perfect blend of horror and fantasy that spins its tale with a calm that both chills and lulls, calling to you to keep reading past the point of no return.
Purchase here: The Wicked Deep
Similar recommended reads: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini, Wicked Charm by Amber Hart, The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Lost Boy by Christina Henry, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Meet Shea Ernshaw!
She is an Oregon native and YA author. She often writes late, late, late into the night, enjoys dark woods, scary stories and moonlight on lakes.