Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 308 pages
Two hundred years ago 3 sisters, the Swan sisters, were accused of being witches and sentenced to death. They were drowned just off the coast of their small town, Sparrow, Oregon.
Now the sisters return every year from June 1st until the summer solstice – known as Swan season. The sisters take over the bodies of 3 unsuspecting girls and exact their revenge on the town by luring boys into the ocean and drowning them.
On the night before the Swan sister’s return, Penny Talbot meets Bo Carter, who has just arrived in Sparrow and is unaware of the it’s curse. Both Penny and Bo have mysterious pasts they’re not willing to share. But as death and mistrust spread across the town, they are forced together.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up as my first “spooky” book for October and it totally fit the bill. The atmosphere of this book is so well written, the town feels like a real, haunted place. And while I loved the setting, the Swan sisters, and overarching mystery, some parts of this book fell a little flat for me.
What I Liked
- The setting was definitely my favorite part of this book. Ernshaw’s writing is really beautiful and I felt like this place might actually exist. The book felt perfectly eerie from start to finish.
- I was completely invested in learning more about the Swan sister’s history. The book alternates between the past when the sisters were alive and present day. And I loved all of the chapters about the sisters. Their story was so interesting and heartbreaking. And I really love when an author allows a reader to understand the villain’s motives.
- I might be in the minority on this one, but I liked Bo as a character. And the number one reason was – he was the ONLY character who questioned why this was happening. Everyone else in the story seemed to blindly accept the curse and took no actions to stop it (more on this later).
- I read a lot of mysteries so none of the mystery aspects were especially mind blowing, but they were fun nonetheless. I really enjoyed trying to figure out who the sisters took over and what everyones secrets were.
What I Didn’t Like
- I found the side characters in here very flat and unmemorable – in fact I finished this 3 days ago and I already can’t remember the best friends name.
- This is probably my biggest issue with the book – but it’s also crucial to the plot so… – everyone blindly accepted the haunting. Like how did no one in the entire town question this or take any sort of action?? No one left. No one went into hiding. In one of the opening chapters, the high school kids are drinking at a bonfire they have every year to “celebrate” Swan season. Where are their parents? Teens are stolen and drowned like clockwork every year but not once did a parent step up and try to protect their child. An utter lack of parental involvement is one of my biggest pet peeves in YA.*THE FOLLOWING IS A SPOILER*
- I felt extremely uncomfortable about Hazel sleeping with Bo while she inhabited Penny’s body. It could have (and should have in my opinion) been omitted. It just wasn’t necessary to the story and felt very wrong.
I don’t know where to put this but I wanted to mention it – this story does contain insta-love! I know for a lot of people this is a major turnoff so I wanted to point it out. Personally, it didn’t bother me a ton. I definitely found myself thinking ‘Woah, that was fast’. But I didn’t feel like it took away from the story at all.
This is definitely a book I’d recommend if you’re the mood for something light with witchy or Halloween vibes. Especially if you’re a total chicken like me.