The Wicked Deep

The Wicked Deep

by Shea Ernshaw

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Overview

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

A New York Times bestseller.

“A wickedly chilling debut.” —School Library Journal
“Complex and sweetly satisfying.” —Booklist
“Prepare to be bewitched.” —Paula Stokes, author of Girl Against the Universe
“A story about the redemptive power of love.” —Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
“Eerie and enchanting.” —Jessica Spotswood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles


Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481497343
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 9,133
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Shea Ernshaw is the author of The Wicked Deep. She works as a producer for a film production company and shares a home with her husband, a dog named Diesel, and two cats. She is happiest when lost in a good book, lost in the woods, or writing her next novel. You can connect with her online at SheaErnshaw.com.

Read an Excerpt

The Wicked Deep




  • I have an old black-and-white photograph taken in the 1920s of a woman at a traveling circus floating in a massive tank filled with water, blond hair billowing around her head, legs hidden by a false mermaid’s fin made of metallic fabric and thread to look like scales. She is wispy and angelic, with thin lips pinched tightly together, holding her breath against the icy water. Several men stand in front of the glass tank, staring at her as if she were real. So easily fooled by the spectacle.

    I think of this photograph every spring, when murmurs begin to circulate through the town of Sparrow about the three sisters who were drowned beyond the maw of the harbor, past Lumiere Island, where I live with my mother. I imagine the three sisters floating like delicate ghosts in the dark shadows beneath the water’s surface, mercurial and preserved just like the sideshow mermaid. Did they struggle to stay above the waterline two centuries ago, when they were forced into the deep, or did they let the weight of each stone carry them swiftly to the cold, rocky bottom of the Pacific?’

    A morning fog, somber and damp, slides over the surface of the ocean between Lumiere Island and the town of Sparrow. The water is calm as I walk down to the dock and begin untying the skiff—a flat-bottomed boat with two bench seats and an outboard motor. It’s not ideal for maneuvering in storms or gales but fine as a runner into town and back. Otis and Olga, two orange tabby cats who mysteriously appeared on the island as kittens two years back, have followed me down to the water, mewing behind me as if lamenting my departure. I leave every morning at this time, motoring across the bay before the bell rings for first period—Global Economics class, a subject that I will never use—and every morning they follow me to the dock.

    The intermittent beam of light from the lighthouse sweeps over the island, and for a moment it brushes across a silhouette standing on the rocky western shore atop the cliff: my mother. Her arms are crossed in her knobby camel-colored sweater wrapped tightly around her fragile torso, and she’s staring out at the vast Pacific like she does each morning, waiting for someone who will never return: my father.

    Olga rubs up against my jeans, arching her bony back and raising her tail, coaxing me to pick her up, but I don’t have time. I pull the hood of my navy-blue rain slicker up over my head, step into the boat, and yank the cord on the motor until it sputters to life, then steer the boat out into the fog. I can’t see the shore or the town of Sparrow through the dim layer of moisture, but I know it’s there.

    * * *

    Tall, sawtooth masts rise up like swords from the water, land mines, shipwrecks of years past. If you didn’t know your way, you could run your boat into any of the half-dozen wrecks still haunting these waters. Beneath me lies a web of barnacle-crusted metal, links of rusted chain trailing over broken bows, and fish making their homes in rotted portholes, the rigging long since eaten away by the salty water. It’s a graveyard of ships. But like the local fishermen chugging out through the dreary fume into the open sea, I can navigate the bay with my eyes pinched shut against the cold. The water is deep here. Massive ships used to bring in supplies through this port, but not anymore. Now only small fishing boats and tourist barges sputter through. These waters are haunted, the seamen still say—and they’re right.

    The skiff bumps against the side of dock eleven, slip number four, where I park the boat while I’m in class. Most seventeen-year-olds have driver’s licenses and rusted-out cars they found on Craigslist or that were handed down from older siblings. But instead, I have a boat. And no use for a car.

    I sling my canvas bag over my shoulder, weighted down with textbooks, and jog up the gray, slick streets to Sparrow High School. The town of Sparrow was built where two ridges come together—tucked between the sea and mountains—making mudslides all too common here. One day it will likely be washed away completely. It will be pushed down into the water and buried beneath forty feet of rain and silt. There are no fast-food chains in Sparrow, no shopping malls or movie theaters, no Starbucks—although we do have a drive-through coffee hut. Our small town is sheltered from the outside world, trapped in time. We have a whopping total population of two thousand and twenty-four. But that number increases greatly every year on June first, when the tourists converge into town and overtake everything.

    Rose is standing on the sloping front lawn of Sparrow High, typing on her cell phone. Her wild cinnamon-red hair springs from her head in unruly curls that she loathes. But I’ve always envied the lively way her hair cannot be tamed or tied up or pinned down, while my straight, nut-brown hair cannot be coaxed into any sort of bouncy, cheerful configuration—and I’ve tried. But stick-straight hair is just stick-straight hair.

    “You’re not ditching me tonight, are you?” she asks when she sees me, tenting both eyebrows and dropping her cell into her once-white book bag that’s been scribbled with Sharpie and colored markers so that it’s now a collage of swirling midnight blues and grassy greens and bubblegum pinks—colorful graffiti art that has left no space untouched. Rose wants to be an artist—Rose is an artist. She’s determined to move to Seattle and attend the Art Institute when we graduate. And she reminds me almost weekly of the fact that she doesn’t want to go alone and I should come with her and be her roommate. To which I’ve skillfully avoided committing since freshmen year.

    It’s not that I don’t want to escape this rainy, dreadful town, because I do. But I feel trapped, a weight of responsibility settled firmly over me. I can’t leave my mother all alone on the island. I’m all she has left—the only thing still grounding her to reality. And perhaps it’s foolish—naive even—but I also have hope that perhaps my father will return someday. He’ll magically appear on the dock and stroll up to the house as if no time has passed. And I need to be here in case he does.

    But as our junior year comes to an end and our senior year approaches, I’m forced to consider the rest of my life and the reality that my future might be right here in Sparrow. I might never leave this place. I might be stuck.

    I’ll stay on the island, reading fortunes from the smeared remains of tea leaves in white porcelain cups just like my mom used to before Dad vanished and never came back. Locals would steer their boats across the harbor, sometimes in secret under a ghost moon, sometimes in the middle of the day because they had an urgent question they needed answered, and they’d sit in our kitchen, fingers tapping on the wood-block table, waiting for Mom to tell them their fate. And afterward they’d leave folded or crumpled or flattened bills on the table just before they left. Mom would slide the money into a flour tin she kept on the shelf next to the stove. And maybe this is the life I’m destined for: sitting at the kitchen table, the sweet scent of chamomile or orange lavender tea settling into my hair, running my finger around the rim of a mug and finding messages in the swirling chaos of leaves.

    I’ve glimpsed my own future in those leaves many times: a boy blowing in from across the sea, shipwrecked on the island. His heart beating wildly in his chest, his skin made of sand and wind. And my heart unable to resist. It’s the same future I’ve seen in every cup of tea since I was five, when my mom first taught me to decipher leaves. Your fate lies at the bottom of a teacup, she had often whispered to me before shooing me off to bed. And the idea of this future stirs inside me whenever I think about leaving Sparrow—like the island is drawing me back, my fate rooted here.

    “It’s not ditching if I never said I’d go,” I say in response to Rose’s question.

    “I won’t allow you to miss another Swan party.” She shifts her hips to the side, looping her right thumb around the strap of her book bag. “Last year I was stuck talking to Hannah Potts until sunrise, and I won’t do it again.”

    “I’ll think about it,” I say. The Swan party has always served a double purpose: the start of the Swan season and also the end-of-the-school-year bash. It’s a booze-fueled celebration that is an odd mix of excitement to be free of classes and teachers and pop quizzes, blended with the approaching dread of the Swan season. Typically, people get way too smashed and no one remembers any of it.

    “No thinking, just doing. When you think about things too long, you just talk yourself out of them.” She’s right. I wish I wanted to go—I wish I cared about parties on the beach. But I’ve never felt comfortable at things like this. I’m the girl who lives on Lumiere Island, whose mom went mad and dad went missing, who never hangs out in town after school. Who would rather spend her evening reading tide charts and watching boats chug into port than chugging beers with people I barely know.

    “You don’t even have to dress up if you don’t want to,” she adds. Dressing up was never an option anyway. Unlike most locals in Sparrow, who keep a standby early 1800s costume tucked away in the back of their closet in preparation for the yearly Swan party, I do not.

    The warning bell for first period rings, and we follow the parade of students through the main front doors. The hallway smells like floor wax and rotting wood. The windows are single-pane and drafty, the wind rattling the glass in the frames every afternoon. The light fixtures blink and buzz. None of the lockers close because the foundation has shifted several degrees off center. If I had known another town, another high school, I might find this place depressing. But instead, the rain that leaks through the roof and drips onto desks and hallway floors during winter storms just feels familiar. Like home.

    Rose and I don’t have first period together, so we walk to the end of A Hall, then pause beside the girls’ bathroom before we part ways.

    “I just don’t know what I’ll tell my mom,” I say, scratching at a remnant of Blueberry Blitz nail polish on my left thumb that Rose made me paint on two weeks back at her house during one of our movie nights—when she decided that to fit in as a serious art major in Seattle she needed to watch classic Alfred Hitchcock movies. As if scary black-and-white films would somehow anoint her as a serious artist.

    “Tell her you’re going to a party—that you actually have a life. Or just sneak out. She probably won’t even notice you’re gone.”

    I bite the side of my lip and stop picking at my nail. The truth is, leaving my mom alone for even one night makes me uneasy. What if she woke up in the middle of the night and realized I was no longer asleep in my bed? Would she think I had disappeared just like my dad? Would she go looking for me? Would she do something reckless and stupid?

    “She’s stuck on that island anyway,” Rose adds. “Where’s she going to go? It’s not like she’s just going to walk out into the ocean.” She pauses and we both stare at each other: Her walking out into the ocean is precisely what I’m afraid of. “What I mean,” Rose corrects, “is that I don’t think anything will happen if you leave her for one night. And you’ll be back right after sunrise.”

    I look across the hall to the open doorway of my first-period Global Economics class, where nearly everyone is already in their seats. Mr. Gratton is standing at his desk, tapping a pen on a stack of papers, waiting for the final bell to ring.

    “Please,” Rose begs. “It’s the biggest night of the year, and I don’t want to be the loser who goes solo again.” A slight lisp trails over the word “solo.” When Rose was younger, she talked with a lisp. All her Ss sounded like Ths. In grade school, kids used to tease her whenever a teacher asked her to speak out loud in front of the class. But after regular visits to a speech therapist up in Newport three days a week during our first years of high school, suddenly it was like she stepped out of her old body and into a new one. My awkward, lisping best friend was now reborn: confident and fearless. And even though her appearance didn’t really change, she now radiated like some beautiful exotic species of human that I didn’t recognize, while I stayed exactly the same. I have this sense that someday we won’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. She will float away like a brightly colored bird living in the wrong part of the world, and I will stay behind, gray-feathered and sodden and wingless.

    “Fine,” I relent, knowing that if I skip another Swan party she might actually disown me as her only friend.

    She grins widely. “Thank God. I thought I was going to have to kidnap you and drag you there.” She shifts her book bag higher onto her shoulder and says, “See you after class.” She hurries down the hall just as the final bell chimes from the tinny overhead speakers.

    Today is only a half day: first and second period, because today is also the last day of school before summer break. Tomorrow is June first. And although most high schools don’t start their summer session so early, the town of Sparrow began the countdown months ago. Signs announcing festivals in honor of the Swan sisters have already been hung and draped across the town square and over storefront windows.

    Tourist season starts tomorrow. And with it comes an influx of outsiders and the beginning of an eerie and deadly tradition that has plagued Sparrow since 1823—ever since the three Swan sisters were drowned in our harbor. Tonight’s party is the start of a season that will bring more than just tourist dollars—it will bring folklore and speculation and doubt about the town’s history. But always, every year without fail or falter, it also brings death.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Wicked Deep 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
    jenny_e More than 1 year ago
    I could have devoured this book but instead for a couple of days I only allowed myself a few chapters. I was savoring the book. Then today I read probably 80% of the book. I cried at one point, cussed at the book a few times and even got so excited that I dropped the book and lost my place. I found myself re-reading passages because I'd get to reading so fast I was afraid I'd miss something. When I finished I really did turn to the first chapter and read it again. I will definitely be re-reading the entire book. With this setting it may become an annual read. Readers of the book will know exactly when I'll be reading it again.
    MarisaR More than 1 year ago
    THE WICKED DEEP is a goosebump-inducing page-turner of a novel. The story centers around three sisters accused of witchery and drowned two centuries ago. Each summer, they return to the cursed seaside town of Sparrow to seek revenge. Atmospheric and layered, the story will keep you guessing and reading late into the night because you won't be able to put it down.
    SMParker More than 1 year ago
    THIS IS A BEAUTY OF A BOOK! The Wicked Deep is stunning and magical and deeply haunting. I feel so lucky that I got a sneak peek at this book. I'm breathless from the beauty of the words, the haunting ache of love and the gorgeously rich tale of witches, revenge, redemption and sacrifice. The author creates a thickly layered coastal town with residents unable to escape a centuries old curse. The Swan sisters were drowned two hundred years ago for witchcraft and they return each June to inhabit the bodies of local girls...so they can drown boys-- rip them out to sea so they can experience the same horrifying death. Sound gruesome? It is, for sure. And the townspeople are trapped by the sea and the curse and death. The Swan sisters are relentless. They never fail to return and seek vengeance in this tiny coastal town. The author immerses the reader in the cold isolation of the town of Sparrow and its neighboring island. Earnshaw's prose is thick, lush and deeply creepy. And there's love!!!! Lots of love. The kind that makes you swoon and the kind that makes you think about the strength of the human heart to endure tragedy and loss. This is a beauty of a book. Read this with a mug of tea in hand, a warm sweater wrapped around your shoulders--and prepare to be up all night. You won't be sorry.
    TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw! Chapter One opens the book with the introduction of the main characters, the setting of the town of Sparrow and Lumiere Island, a spooky tale and foreshadowing of death. The main characters are Penny, who lives alone with her mother after her father disappeared three years ago, and Rose. Rose’s mother owns a bakery that sells mini cakes that supposedly help people forget their struggles and painful memories. Tourist season starts and the town celebrates the legend of the three Swan Sisters and their drowning centuries ago. The Swan sisters Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel were drowned after being accused of witchcraft. The story is told in parts, past and present, alternating to reveal the history of the sisters, the disappearance of Penny’s father and the secrets of Bo, the visitor that ends up working on Lumiere Island with Penny. Wicked Deep is a fantasy wrapped in darkness, engulfed in tragedy and heartbreak with intrigue, deception and sacrifice that ultimately brings love into its pages. Wonderfully written and rates a highly recommended 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
    Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
    I have to admit, when I saw this book, I only wanted to read it becasue of the cover. I'm not usually one who likes books about withces, but I stuck my neck out and gave it a chance. It turned out to completely different than I expected and I really enjoyed it. Sparrow, Oregon has been cursed for over 200 years by the legend of the Swan sisters. Every summer they come back on the notes of a song and steal the bodies of three girls and then drown boys as the summer goes on. But this year is different. Penny meets Bo and suddenly secrets from everyone start to come out. But who can trust who? And will you really risk it? The world building in this was superb y'all. I really felt like I was on the beach, in the parties, in the lighthouse, and more. Maybe it's because I from a place with a beach and I can recognize these things, but I really felt pulled into Ernshaw's story and really felt like I was in Sparrow. Come to think of it, the world-building was probably the reason I didn't mind that this was about witches. Ernshaw does a great job of providing details about the back-story as well as giving the details of how the sisters survive. You may not get the information all at once, but that's what makes the story. The only complaint I had about this story was the plot. In many places it dragged, but I decided to stick with it because I was still intrigued. But once it got to the plot twist, the story sped up and I didn't want to put it down. Granted the plot twist is after 200 pages and many of you who read it will have some suspicion, but it will still throw you for a loop. Lastly, this book was so well written I found myself highlighting so many different phrases and words. Ernshaw has a beautiful writing style that pulled me into Sparrow and kept me there until the very end. From the descriptions of the characters to the description of the places surrounding them and even the cats, I loved reading her words. I wasn't supposed to like so much of this book based on my past interests. But this book surprised me so much. I loved so much about it and really didn't have any issues with it. Although the plot could have moved a bit faster, I do appreciate the way in which she told the story. Thank you Ernshaw for creating such a magical story that made me want to open my mind to other books about magic and witches.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Heart stopping. I haven’t read a book this good in a very long time.
    amandanicolet More than 1 year ago
    "Love is an enchantress--devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat." Hauntingly beautiful and magical, The Wicked Deep brings the whimsical themes of Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus together for this story of curses, sisters, and murderous love. The eerie and mysterious town of Sparrow is cursed every summer solstice. On June 1st, the Swan sisters return and the drownings begin. Three bodies are found. One for each sister. Seven-teen year old Penny Talbot has witnessed the drownings of the town herself and like everyone else she awaits the fate of three unknown souls who will be the sister's victims. However, this year Penny has found Bo Carter. The bond they form is something Penny has never experienced before and keeping Bo and her friends safe until the solstice is over searching for answers in old legends, forgetful cakes, and tea leaves all while trying to avoid the witch hunt that consumes the town. They cannot trust anyone. I was instantly under Shea Ernshaw's spell from the very first page. I could not put this book down. She has created deeply complex and emotional characters who all have their secrets to keep. While keeping the realism of teenagers and young love in the modern day age, Ernshaw has also created a town legend that has become a household name in the town of Sparrow with the curse of the Swan sisters. I love the little touches of magic she has weaved throughout the story from Mrs. Alba's forgetful cakes to Penny's mother reading tea leaves to tourists. They add a whimsical touch to this town that has been touched by a death for centuries. The only critique that I have for this book is that there were a few editing mistakes throughout my edition. Even with the rounds and rounds of edits and revisions, I know that debut novels often go through this and sometimes things are overlooked. Does this effect my thoughts on the story at all? Absolutely not. The Wicked Deep has easily become my favorite read of 2018 thus far and I highly recommend to readers.  5/5 Happy Reading!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The Wicked Deep is a hauntingly beautiful book about love, loss, and forgiveness. The book follows Penny, a girl gripped with her fathers disappearance, her mother's loss of sanity, and the start of another Swan season. But it all changes when Bo arrives, an outsider brought by the sea. Just like the leaves foretold. I can't get this book out of my head. It had the most well executed mystery I have ever read in my entire life. I can't recount the amount of times I gasped or was shocked by the events that occurred. The characters were jumping off the page and I could see them all. All of the secondary characters were vital to the plot and I loved the little peeks into their lives that we got. The small peaks into the past we get were always just enough to keep the mystery going or shed some light on specific characters but they never felt like too much. The word choice of this book is outstanding. I was blown away by the strong and descriptive language. I have plenty of new favorite quotes from this book. It is witchy and wonderful. It challenges the idea of forgiveness and the idea of what makes a person good. I would recommend you drop everything you think you're going to read and pick this one up instead. Not to mention that gorgeous cover.
    MaleehaS 5 months ago
    I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I was going to! It's the perfect book for October or any other time of the year when you feel like diving into a mysterious and atmospheric read. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance, but the intrigue surrounding Sparrow's history/curse is what kept me reading until the very end. I highly recommend!
    AReadingRedSox 6 months ago
    Overall, just...okay. I hung in there until the end because the plot was super interesting and I wanted to see how it all ended. I liked the relationship between Penny and Bo and how it all unfolded. I did guess the twist, but I still liked it. I was waiting for that moment that just sparked the rest of the book on, and it just kind of stagnated.
    TheLiteraryPhoenix 9 months ago
    I devoured this book like a package of peanut m&ms. If you're looking for something good to read poolside this summer that isn't too fluffy, The Wicked Deep is it. With foggy Pacific witch feels akin to The Price Guide to the Occult and sisterly witchcraft a la Practical Magic, you will like this one. There's light romance and a mystery and there are ghosts and I am a sucker for campfire ghost stories. There isn't a lot that will surprise you in The Wicked Deep, but there is plenty to delight and send shivers up your spine. It's a very fast-paced, easy read with short chapters and honestly, a cover to die for. The characters are interesting and driven, but the scenes written in the Swan Sisters' era are the best. This is a fantastic book and I loved it and it is ABSOLUTELY recommended.
    TheLiteraryPhoenix 9 months ago
    I devoured this book like a package of peanut m&ms. If you're looking for something good to read poolside this summer that isn't too fluffy, The Wicked Deep is it. With foggy Pacific witch feels akin to The Price Guide to the Occult and sisterly witchcraft a la Practical Magic, you will like this one. There's light romance and a mystery and there are ghosts and I am a sucker for campfire ghost stories. There isn't a lot that will surprise you in The Wicked Deep, but there is plenty to delight and send shivers up your spine. It's a very fast-paced, easy read with short chapters and honestly, a cover to die for. The characters are interesting and driven, but the scenes written in the Swan Sisters' era are the best. This is a fantastic book and I loved it and it is ABSOLUTELY recommended.
    pooled_ink 11 months ago
    pooled ink Reviews: 3.5 Stars 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. (There was a teeny tiny element to the ending that I wasn't a huge fan of but to mention it would be a spoiler so if you're desperately curious then read my full review on my blog but otherwise just know that 98% of this was a good book) **Read the full review on Wordpress: Pooled Ink
    Magdalyn_Ann More than 1 year ago
    The Wicked Deep was a creepy story with rich world building, beautiful language and amazing imagery. That, and the cover is amazing and so sparkly. I just need it on my shelves at all time, illuminated by a little spot light. But--there were plenty of issues too. I want to say, right off the bat, that The Wicked Deep took me a long time to get through. It was touch-and-go for a little while, and I wasn't sure if I was really going to be invested enough in it to finish. I absolutely loved the way that book set up the world and the setting. There were small snippets between chapters that just set the mood and the scene in just perfect, bite-sized ways that made me love the story. Shea Ernshaw is amazing at writing settings. All those little bits were the perfect mix of tense, creepy and beautiful. But then there was the dialogue. The dialogue all the characters had felt so... off. It felt stilted and a little bit dated. The voices didn't feel genuine and every time I had to suffer through a patch of dialogue it was tipping the scales towards the DNF side. I was intrigued by the story, but I couldn't make it through big patches of the book at once thanks to the characters. Maybe it was just me. Maybe this book is exactly your cup of tea. For me? Not so much.
    PriceGirls More than 1 year ago
    The Wicked Deep is a good read with an unique and interesting story line. There is a lot of depth that goes into the characters personalities, which will later cause you a fair amount of emotional turmoil as you start to discover that Penny is not who you think she is. The twists and turns will have you saying, as I did, "Whoa, I did not see that coming." The only issue I had with the book is that I was just not captivated by it. I am very easily distracted, so it is hard for me to read if I am not completely absorbed into a book's pages. When reading this, I found my mind drifting off and I constantly had to reread a lot. I went along with the ride hoping that it would get better, which it did a little, but not until the very last couple of chapters. Other than that, The Wicked Deep is vividly written and I would definitely suggest this book to those of you that have more patience than me.
    BookPrincessReviews More than 1 year ago
    Thoughts are good. Thoughts are important. Thank goodness for that, because I had a lot of them in this book. Hence, this is probably going to be long and winding and might not even make any particular point. First, thank you, book, for being the first binge read that I've had in a while. I appreciated it when I was feeling the drop into a book slump. You got me out of the deep...which is ironic since you are the wicked deep? Basically, I was sold on this premise the moment that I heard about it. It said that it was the Salem Witch Trials meets Practical Magic meets Hocus Pocus. I couldn't read that and not use the wise words of Britney Spears, GIMME GIMME MORE, GIMME MORE, GIMME MORE. I love things about witches, and to name drop, the brilliance that is the Sanderson Sisters? YES PLEASE. However, it was kind of Hocus Pocus and kind of not? I wanted more sister action. I mean, did the Sanderson Sisters love each other? o.o Why, never, but they were joined together at the hip and stuck together like a good evil sister coven. Other items were like Hocus Pocus, but if you're looking for the iconic sister trio, you might want to look somewhere else because these sisters are not in it to win it together. The writing was interesting. At times, it was brilliant. Other times, it was like, girl, you're trying too hard. I believe this book was going for magic realism, and with magic realism, you usually get this magical, lyrical prose. However, there was some lines that I was reading that I kept thinking, really? I don't think you really mean that? And then it would be all easy, breezy great writing and then BAM. There would be this sentence that was DEEP and I'm like, woah, there, chill, book, I was not prepared for this emo-ness. I spent about a half hour just snapchatting my friend some lines. The flow and a good deal of her writing was so easy to read, though, and it did help the binge read. The biggest complaint about this book that I have seen is the romance. Yes, it's 100% instalove. For suresies. No doubts. But I didn't mind it honestly. I mean, did I side-eye majorly? Of course. But it was entertaining instalove, and I was more than fine with reading it. No fiery deep in my soul about it, but Penny and Bo worked. Where this book shone for me was the atmosphere. Me and an atmosphere can make or break it. If an atmosphere is good but everything else is terrible, I will still read the book because of that greatness. This book did such a brilliant job with creating this eerie, spooky feeling, and I could literally see the mist coming off the water. I just could have lived in the atmosphere and setting of this book forever. I will definitely consider anything else Ernshaw does in the future because there are so few books that bring the spooky, eerie feeling to it. It was never creepy, but the whole setting and feel to the story was just so much wonderful. The characters were interesting. I feel like a lot of people made really questionable and stupid decisions. I really didn't like many of them. I didn't dislike them though. I just didn't feel much for any of them. I had a LOT of questions for them and when I was giving weird summaries to my friend about what was going on, I realized they were making some super insane decisions. And now spoiler time because thoughts: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS: Okay, I felt no change between the shift between Penny and Hazel? I mean, they really can't have the same exact voice and feel to them and
    ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
    “The knowing of what’s coming, the death that creeps up over the town like fate clawing at the door of every shop and home. I can feel it in the air, in the spray of the sea, in the hollow spaces between raindrops. The sisters are coming.” This book took me forever to read. Honestly, it was less than a week, but it felt like forever. And my trend of becoming more disinterested as I read continued here unfortunately. The Wicked Deep showcases how small town secrets and a little bit of danger combine to make an atmospheric and fun read, even though I did have my issues. Things I Liked This books is so beautifully constructed visually. The cover, the book naked, the chapter headings - they all help establish this witchy and atmospheric story. I loved the named chapters that were used intermittently through the story. They were so beautifully atmospheric (are you sensing a theme here) while also helping to establish background and characters. I really liked the idea of the Swan Season and the dark curse that’s plagued this town for centuries. I like the rule and how the curse operated - they felt logical and grounded which is important for me in a paranormal story. Things I Didn’t Like I wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance in the story. It was just a little too much. A little too quickly for me. I thought the Swan Sisters were a little lacking. I feel like I didn’t know enough about Marguerite and sister #2 (I honestly can’t even remember her name). They felt a lot more like background characters who happened to be involved with the main plot. I also didn’t like Hazel at all. We do actually get to know her more, I feel like we’re supposed to sympathize and connect with her, but I didn’t. I really just didn’t care about the characters in general. Also, I don't think they were witches so that was kinda disappointing. I was also pretty meh about the ending. I called the big reveal, so it didn’t have an impact or buildup for me. I would have loved for the book to be one chapter shorter. I thought that the chapter “The Harbor” was a solid ending, but the “Land and Sea” the actual last chapter, just highlighted my annoyances and left me on a bit of a sour note. Once again I wanted to like this story more than I did, but I do think that a lot of people will enjoy this. If you’re in the mood for an atmospheric read, you should definitely pick this up. And I honestly might have liked this more is I wasn’t in a funky reading mood. But The Wicked Deep is story that sweeps you away and carries you on a twisty and dark ride. I received a copy of the book from the Simon & Schuester via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
    book_junkee More than 1 year ago
    3.5 stars I love books about witches and had seen so many people talking about this book, so I was pretty excited to read it. I loved Penny and Bo. There are several other characters, but I don’t want to go into details because spoilers. The relationships are one of the best parts of this story. Plot wise, it was just okay. I was expecting a lot of tension that wasn’t there and at times, the atmosphere felt forced. The build up is slow and the first half or so of the book felt meh—I could have easily walked away from it. It was the last quarter of the book that redeemed everything for me. Overall, it was a quick and easy read with characters who really carried the story. I look forward to seeing what Shea writes next. **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**
    taramichelle More than 1 year ago
    Rating: 3.5 stars The Wicked Deep was such a wonderfully atmospheric novel. The premise was absolutely stellar. I loved how the author kept me in suspense the entire time, even though I guessed most of the twists. As the story was slowly unspooled, I kept changing my opinion about certain characters. While there were some parts I didn't like, The Wicked Deep was overall an engaging and intriguing book. Two hundred years ago, three sisters were drowned as witches. Since then, they've been taking their revenge on the town of Sparrow every summer by drowning local boys. On the eve before the sisters again steal the bodies of three unsuspecting girls, a young man named Bo Carter arrives and meets local girl Penny Talbot. As the murders pile up, the atmosphere in town soon turns suspicious. Mistrustful of each other, even as they fall in love, Penny and Bo must decide what is real and what they're willing to give up to stop the curse. Ernshaw did an excellent job of bringing to life the small town of Sparrow. Despite the yearly murders, the townspeople stay. For some of them, it's the only life they've ever known. For others, they tried leaving and ending up returning. And others are unable to leave, trapped in a place they dream of escaping. Being able to picture the town so vividly definitely helped me find the magic in this book. The fear and mistrust that slowly spread throughout this small town felt so authentic and real. Nonetheless, I would have liked to see a bit more of how the events affected the non-teenage inhabitants of the town. The Wicked Deep was a slower paced novel, which allowed me to fully enjoy the atmosphere. I was able to anticipate most of the twists in the plot. Oddly, I actually enjoyed the experience more because of that. I loved seeing how everything was connected and everything changed when viewed from a different perspective. The author did a brilliant job exploring the idea of identity. The Wicked Deep was definitely more of a psychological mystery than I was expecting and I loved it. And yet there wasn't an explanation for one of the most important parts of the book. I would have liked that question answered but I can see why the author choose to have the story be more mysterious. The flashbacks to the sister's story were some of my favorite parts. I always love seeing how villains are formed. Their story was nicely interwoven with the rest of the book. However, I found it hard to connect to the two main characters. Since the second half of the book focused heavily on the romance, I didn't like it quite as much as the beginning. There was also insta-love, a trope that I'm not a huge fan of. I actually preferred when the book focused on the relationships between the sisters and the townspeople and the three sisters themselves. The Wicked Deep was a unique book that was full of creepy happenings, mysterious murders, and intriguing characters. I would recommend if you're looking for a wonderfully atmospheric YA read that's a bit darker. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
    OwlishReader More than 1 year ago
    *This book was provided to me by Net Galley in exchange for a review* This was pretty alright, not great just alright. The plot was pretty cool and definitely had a Hocus Pocus feel to it. What really bugged me was the romance. It was 100% insta-love, which I hate. I enjoyed the writing, for the most part. The only parts I didn't like were when the author was writing the romantic scenes. It was just way too over the top, for every kiss and every time they looked into each other's eyes. I found myself rolling my eyes every time I had to read about this relationship. Perhaps, if I had read this when I was 15 or 16 I would have enjoyed it more. The only reason I didn't put the book down half way through was because there was a great twist that I was not expecting. After about the half way point things pick up and are a lot less cringey. Overall, this is a pretty average paranormal romance with an interesting plot.