The Wicked Deep

The Wicked Deep

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 har...

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Title:The Wicked Deep
Author:Shea Ernshaw
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Wicked Deep Reviews

  • Alana • thebookishchick

    This book was SO much fun.

    First of all, you need to understand if you say the word witches I am sold. No questions asked, I want the book. Now, add three sisters accused of witchcraft who come back for revenge *ahem, Hocus Pocus vibes anyone?* and I am so sold there is no possible way I could dislike this book. Yet somehow, I still managed to be blown away by this. Al

    This book was SO much fun.

    First of all, you need to understand if you say the word witches I am sold. No questions asked, I want the book. Now, add three sisters accused of witchcraft who come back for revenge *ahem, Hocus Pocus vibes anyone?* and I am so sold there is no possible way I could dislike this book. Yet somehow, I still managed to be blown away by this. Although technically the Swan sisters were not witches, only accused of being witches, the magic and the reasons behind it were so freaking good. I still can’t get over it. I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I fell in love with this story and the characters.

    The writing in this one was GORGEOUS. I would find myself constantly just re-reading scenes in the book because of how beautiful the prose was. Not to mention how wonderful the mystery and legend of the Swan Sisters was woven into the story. It felt completely unique and original which is like a breath of fresh air since I predominately read YA books and they can all kind of mesh into one another. I have a feeling this book is going to stand out from all the other books I’ve read this year for a LONG TIME.

    Now I will admit that I did figure out the big “plot twist” of the story way before it was revealed , however, it did not ruin the story for me in any way. While it was the main plot twist of the story there was still so much behind it that I never would have guessed which made it even better, if that’s even possible and left me will ALL THE FEELS.

    The romance aspect to this story was again woven perfectly into it and had me pining after Bo and Penny. Originally, I will admit, I was not a fan of insta-love between Bo and Penny BUT after finishing this and finding out the reason for the insta-love I totally took it back and realized it was a vital part to the story. Also, there is another love story besides Bo and Penny’s and I am LIVING for it. No spoilers though 😉

    Plus, the ending of this book! Oh my god. I can’t stop thinking about it. Again, SO MANY FEELS.

    All in all, I want to keep this short because I don’t want to give away too much of anything. If you love witches, mystery, legends, epic love stories, and creepy little towns than look no further than The Wicked Deep.

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  • Julie Zantopoulos

    Two centuries ago three sisters were drowned in the harbor off Sparrow Island after being charged with witchcraft. Ever since then during the Swan Season, a period of time between June 1st and the end of the month, the three sisters return to the island by claiming the body of three young girls. With those bodies, the sisters each lure a boy to their death, exacting revenge on the town that murdered them.

    The town has become a tourist destination for those twisted enough to want to join the witc

    Two centuries ago three sisters were drowned in the harbor off Sparrow Island after being charged with witchcraft. Ever since then during the Swan Season, a period of time between June 1st and the end of the month, the three sisters return to the island by claiming the body of three young girls. With those bodies, the sisters each lure a boy to their death, exacting revenge on the town that murdered them.

    The town has become a tourist destination for those twisted enough to want to join the witch hunt to find which teenage girl the long-dead witches inhabit or to discover which boy will be dragged beneath the surface of the water and killed. Bo Carter arrives on the shores of Sparrow on the eve of the Swan season unaware of the danger he's in. This year things get complicated when Penny, who can see what others cannot, tries to protect Bo from the sister's siren song.

    Guys, this book! I swear to you, this book was so amazing that words are hard to come by to explain how great it was. I've been in a witchy mood lately but this book checked all my boxes. It was atmospheric, it was haunting, it was eerie, and it was lyrically and beautifully written. Think Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic and they had a baby with The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It was THAT good.

    This book had me hooked from the first party scene straight through to the last page. The setting was so vibrant, so hauntingly isolated, and I could picture it so clearly in my head. The entire town was steeped in legend, in eerie traditions, and magic and I am low key contemplating a move to somewhere like it. It really came to alive on the page for me.

    Penny, our main character, is a fantastic narrator. She's different, an outsider while still being a native, and she's navigating friendship, social anxiety, and a new budding relationship in a way that is way too relatable...minus the witch hauntings and boys being drowned, of course. And Bo, my beautiful Bo, is just...everything. He's a complex character who ends up breaking my heart so many times in this book.

    I've heard some people say they couldn't get behind the instalove, but I was shipping them from the second they said hello to one another. I was team Bo/Penny from GO and can we just talk about the spark and the passion between these two? Legit one of my new fave kissing scenes resides in this book and just...wow. Their romance, their connection is everything. I 100% had no problem with the way this relationship played out. In a setting like this, in the situation they were in, I think them clinging to one another makes perfect sense.

    Legit 10/10 would recommend for anyone who loves atmospheric books, witchy tales, swoon worth kisses, or beautiful quote worthy writing. I had a LOT of annotating, tabbing, and personalizing this book with my thoughts. It now holds a forever place in my heart and on my favorites shelf.

    Warning: One thing I do want to note is that due to the nature of the witch's curse they do inhabit young girls and use their bodies for a month and so sometimes things are done in their bodies without their knowledge and therefore consent. It clearly didn't stop me from loving the book but I wanted to note that in the review in the ost non-spoiler way possible.

    **Also, Netflix has won the bidding war to make a show/series/movie out of this and I CANNOT wait to see how it turns out. I have high hopes!**

    I buddy read this on Twitter using the hashtag #brWickedDeep if you want to look up the hashtag and see what others had to say. I also chatted with the following ladies in a group DM on Twitter while reading.

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  • Sabrina The Trash Queen

    => THIS BOOK DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

    I was in a mood for a book that had witches and a good plot and this book was exactly it.

    The story was so original!

    I LOVED IT.

    It starts a bit slow but after the first 4 chapter the story begins and awesome stars to happen.

    For me the best part of the book was the writing, I’m in love with it.

    => THIS BOOK DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

    I was in a mood for a book that had witches and a good plot and this book was exactly it.

    The story was so original!

    I LOVED IT.

    It starts a bit slow but after the first 4 chapter the story begins and awesome stars to happen.

    For me the best part of the book was the writing, I’m in love with it.

    =>love this quote!!!

    =>The plot was really well done, I didn’t saw it coming.

    The really liked the romance, how it wasn't just focused on it, and how it complemented the story.

    I like how cold the witches are.

    ==> OKAY, the ending was a bit of a disappointment for me.

    Overall the book itself didn't disappoint, it had what I was expecting it, cool, fast, interesting, original and in someways funny.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    So I’ve been tossing back and forth all day between a 4 and a 5 over this one, so I think I’m just gonna be that guy and go with a 4.5. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. This was the most beautiful and atmospheric book I’ve read in ages. The setting of this book was PERFECTION and I want 383738251929 books set here, STAT. I will say though, the reason that I was hmmmming so much over my rating is because I saw everything coming in this one. Nothing surprised me at all, but I still loved it and enjoyed

    So I’ve been tossing back and forth all day between a 4 and a 5 over this one, so I think I’m just gonna be that guy and go with a 4.5. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. This was the most beautiful and atmospheric book I’ve read in ages. The setting of this book was PERFECTION and I want 383738251929 books set here, STAT. I will say though, the reason that I was hmmmming so much over my rating is because I saw everything coming in this one. Nothing surprised me at all, but I still loved it and enjoyed reading it SO MUCH. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in reading a really great October-y book in the spring, lol.

  • Melanie

    Friends, if you’re looking for something atmospheric, spooky, and completely captiv

    Friends, if you’re looking for something atmospheric, spooky, and completely captivating, that is so very beautifully written, please pick

    up.

    I’ll be honest with you all, I felt like this book was calling to me. I’d always see it on Edelweiss, but I had too many ARCS, so I knew I couldn’t allow myself to request it, but it always caught my eye. Then, upon release, everyone was buying it and I thought it was the most beautiful, holographic cover I’ve ever seen, but I still resisted. Then, I couldn’t stop seeing on all my social media feeds that Netflix bought the rights to it and is going to adapt it. Finally, my friend Julie posted she was going to be hosting a buddy read for it, and I knew that I could no longer continue to be haunted by this book. And I’m forever thankful I picked it up.

    is a story about a small town off the coast of Oregon, called Sparrow, that is the pinnacle of a small, sleepy town, except for in June when tourists come from all around in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Swan sisters who were drowned to death for witchcraft over two hundred years ago. From June 1st until Just 21st (summer solace) no one is safe. And each and every summer, accusations get thrown at more and more girls, from boys who claim them to be the sisters who are responsible for the drownings.

    Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death two centuries ago for witchcraft, but their only crimes are from seducing the men in the town of Sparrow. But every summer the sisters rise from their watery graves, each inhabiting a body of a local girl, while making sure they take at least three boy’s lives while they walk among the town unbeknownst to anyone which local girls are being possessed.

    Our main character, Penny, lives on a small island off of the mainland. She keeps to herself despite the small population to begin with, and only truly has one friend named Rose. Rose begs Penny to attend a party on the beach with the rest of the kids from their school, so they can annually welcome the Swan sisters. Penny lives with her mother, who hasn’t been the same since her husband disappeared three years ago. Penny reluctantly goes, meets a mysterious boy who is looking for work, and the sisters start to sing their song.

    I really loved reading this. I was instantly thrown into the mystery and guessing game of who the sisters had possessed. I was instantly in love with the town and the mom and pop businesses. I was instantly impressed with the lyrical prose and the intelligently crafted story. I went into this expecting some

    vibes, but I came out enjoying this more than I ever expected.

    I saw a couple reviews calling this story instalove, but I was honestly swooning so hard for the romance in this book. That first kiss? One of the best first kisses I’ve ever read. I loved the romance(s) in this so much, and I will read any and everything by this author based on how well she wrote those scenes alone.

    My only real complaint comes from the nature of the story. This is ultimately a story about girls being possessed against their will, therefore, the sisters do questionable things with their host’s body without their consent. I can’t say too much, because I want this to be a spoiler free review, but just use caution going into this knowing that. And it’s nothing violent or physically hurtful, but I would argue that there is some grey area consent in this book.

    loss of a loved one, abandonment, underage drinking, drunk driving (boats), murder, death, downing, and abduction.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this. Shea Ernshaw was able to evoke so many emotions from me. I cried so many tears during this book. I felt so blindsided and I honestly couldn’t control my weeping at a few parts. This story is so beautiful, and it truly is crafted so very well. To say I’m impressed is an understatement, and I can’t wait to see what this author does next, because their debut was nothing short of phenomenal.

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  • Katerina

    Sparrow, Oregon.

    1823.

    The

    arrives in the gloomy town of Sparrow, carrying the Swan sisters. Exotic, elegant and sensual, Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel Swan rattle the foundations of the close-knit society with their numerous dalliances and scandalous affairs with men that are not available. Whispers about potions and hexes become cries and screams, and the town of Sparrow finds them guilty of witchcraft in a desperate attempt to defend all thos

    Sparrow, Oregon.

    1823.

    The

    arrives in the gloomy town of Sparrow, carrying the Swan sisters. Exotic, elegant and sensual, Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel Swan rattle the foundations of the close-knit society with their numerous dalliances and scandalous affairs with men that are not available. Whispers about potions and hexes become cries and screams, and the town of Sparrow finds them guilty of witchcraft in a desperate attempt to defend all those innocent citizens the amoral sisters seduced. And so, on summer solstice, they drown them.

    Sparrow, Oregon.

    Present Day.

    In the small town of two thousand and twenty four inhabitans, nothing interesting happens. Well, almost nothing; on the first day of June comes the singing, signaling the beginning of the Swan Season. Each year the three wrongfully murdered sisters claim the bodies of three girls, taking control of them. Then the drownings begin. And so does the distrust, and the witch hunt. It's on the eve of the Swan Season that Penny Talbot meets Bo, a strange boy with ghosts in his eyes. Together, they try to stop the Swan sisters before the town mourns once more the loss of young life. But Bo and Penny are tethered to the haunting of the Swan sisters in fundamental ways, and stopping the killings might have fatal consequences to them both.

    The days in need for a forgetful cake to wipe away the sour taste of disappointment and discomfort from my mouth. Using a note reminding me to take delivery of a certificate from the Court of First Instance as a bookmark, a turmoil of unpleasant thoughts and emotions raging inside me, I dived into its wicked, deep waters, I tasted the salt of the sea, I stood in the rain while waterdrops cascaded my face and soaked my clothes, I felt the chill piercing my skin, reaching to the marrow. And I smiled.

    was the answer to my silent pleas.

    is also an enchantress.

    Her writing had

    that illuminated everything in blue and grey shades, depicting the emotional state and the secrets of her heroes. Sharing tidbits of the past during the unfolding of the current events, she eventually shed light on the tragedy that took place all those years ago in a cursed town that paid the price of the cruelty and ignorance of its inhabitants. It was not a happy story. It was soaked in revenge, fear, and something more. The desperate need to belong, and shape a future of your own. Penny and Bo were two equally tormented characters that managed to speak to me. Their connection was depicted in a sweet, heart-warming manner that was a ray of sunlight in this bleak and dreary town.

    The reason I didn't give the fifth star to a novel I devoured is rather complicated. I figured out the plot twist pretty soon, and, while it was brilliant, a part of me wishes it would never happen, because it messed up my feelings, and left me with a bitter taste after I finished it. But, like I said before, this story wasn't meant to be happy. It was a peculiar mix of water and sun, warmth and cold, and I can't help but admit that the ending was oddly fitting.

  • Lola

    3.5 stars. This is the story of three long-dead witches who come back every summer in the bodies of Sparrow girls to drown boys and the only girl in town who may be able to lift the curse.

    This is an exquisitely atmospheric book. The subject matter is, of course, dark, but the way the author presents the town and its curse feels almost magical.

    Even though such a curse pertains to the fantasy world and is therefore not a realistic element, I believed everything inside this story. Not once did I

    3.5 stars. This is the story of three long-dead witches who come back every summer in the bodies of Sparrow girls to drown boys and the only girl in town who may be able to lift the curse.

    This is an exquisitely atmospheric book. The subject matter is, of course, dark, but the way the author presents the town and its curse feels almost magical.

    Even though such a curse pertains to the fantasy world and is therefore not a realistic element, I believed everything inside this story. Not once did I tell myself, ‘‘Shea Ernshaw took it too far’’. Not once.

    It is a paranormal mystery. This author is smart. She knows experienced readers have encountered witches before in their reads. She knows they need more to be intrigued nowadays. I, for one, kept reading because I was curious and wanted to uncover who the possessed girls were, what Bo wanted and how Penny Talbot’s father disappeared.

    But this is where it gets tricky. Because everyone is so secretive, we do not get to know any of the characters in depth, aside from the heroine herself. And while Bo is mysterious, the fact that he reveals little about himself makes him one-dimensional for a good part of the story.

    So do not ask me if I enjoyed the romance. It is a categorical no. Fortunately the story of the three witches and the curse itself as well as how it unfolded during this particular summer kept me interested from start to finish.

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  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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    Do not be fooled by the quotes people are using in their reviews for this book. Those quotes will make you think that you are going to get a dark and twisted and impactful story about magic and revenge. I think this book

    to be about those things, but what THE WICKED DEEP actually ended up being was on par with what you'd get if you'd asked Stephenie Meyer to rewrite

    .

    The Swan sisters (see, TWILIGHT) were three beautiful, sca

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    Do not be fooled by the quotes people are using in their reviews for this book. Those quotes will make you think that you are going to get a dark and twisted and impactful story about magic and revenge. I think this book

    to be about those things, but what THE WICKED DEEP actually ended up being was on par with what you'd get if you'd asked Stephenie Meyer to rewrite

    .

    The Swan sisters (see, TWILIGHT) were three beautiful, scandalous girls who ended up being murdered as Witches in Sparrow, Oregon because the townspeople got tired of their BS. Now, Sparrow has become a West Coast Salem, MA, with tourists flocking to the small island every summer for a chance to see the mysterious drownings that occur once every year. Because, as local legend has it, the Swan sisters never truly died, and are taking their revenge by possessing the bodies of young girls and seducing young men into the sea to die.

    Penny Talbot is our insipid main character and yes, before you ask, she's one of those plain, clumsy girls who doesn't know she's beautiful. She's also a judgmental little you-know-what who's jaded beyond her years and has something to say about pretty much

    . Her love interest is a drifter-like dude named Bo who won't disclose why he's come to Sparrow, or where he came from before, and his current life goals include having a part-time job in a tourist trap and sleeping on the beach.

    Obviously, it's meant to be!

    Sinister, Scooby Doo-like sh*t starts to happen, and the touristy shenanigans reach a fever pitch as teenagers do what teenagers have done since the dawn of time according to Hollywood and YA authors: use any event of the slightest bit of significance as an excuse to have wild parties and drink a metric farkton of alcohol. When/if the Swan sisters come back, these teens will be ripe for slaughter.

    Annnnnd... I guess that leaves only trusty old Penny to save them.

    Sorry teens, it was nice knowing you.

    I received an ARC of this book and initially had no intention of finishing it because I looked at the reviews and compared them to the blurb and realized that rather than being the Gothic mind-flip I was expecting, it was going to be closer to something that Sarah Addison Allen would write, only with the insta-love-laden melodrama of

    . But this kept showing up in my feed, over and over, and everyone was like,

    , and I thought, "Well, they were wrong about

    , but they were right about

    , so maybe..."

    Nope. There really isn't much to make this book stand out, apart from the decent writing. For 70% of the book, the story is as slow as sap sliding down a tree trunk on a cold day. In the last 30% there's finally some action, but by this point, the "sympathetic" main character has revealed herself to be an utter twit (only replace that "I" with an "A" to get the gist of my true sentiments), so I no longer cared what happened to her or if she even got a happy ending, because she had officially made my sh*t list.

    Oh, and that

    - that ending was TERRIBLE and brushed aside a pretty serious issue that I felt should have been handled much better than it was. I can't say anything else about that because it's a huge spoiler, but I'll say that it involves consent and sex and yeah, what the actual hell, book.

    Not sure why everyone is giving this positive buzz. I thought it was incredibly lame. I'd rather watch

    .

    P.S. I predicted the "twist" by the end of the first chapter.

    1.5 stars

  • Emma Giordano

    2.5 Stars. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I wanted to.

    CW: murder, drowning, suicide

    There is one thing I absolutely loved about this book: the atmosphere. I made a fantastic choice in listening to the audiobook – the narrator added to the story in the best way. The chilling, spooky setting of this recluse town with a magical history kept me engaged even when I did not care for the characters and plot. This book was pitched as similar to “Hocus Pocus” and while the storylines d

    2.5 Stars. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I wanted to.

    CW: murder, drowning, suicide

    There is one thing I absolutely loved about this book: the atmosphere. I made a fantastic choice in listening to the audiobook – the narrator added to the story in the best way. The chilling, spooky setting of this recluse town with a magical history kept me engaged even when I did not care for the characters and plot. This book was pitched as similar to “Hocus Pocus” and while the storylines do not compare, the ambience of the story evokes such a similar feeling.

    I realized about halfway through the story that I greatly preferred the flashbacks to when the Swan Sisters were alive to the present story following Penny and Bo. This is interesting for me because typically, I feel flashbacks often impede my enjoyment of a story because I almost always care about the main characters more, but that was not the case with

    . I think I would have preferred almost any other story set in this town with the Swan Sister’s influence over what we actually got.

    I REALLY enjoyed the story in the beginning, the first few chapters were extremely appealing and I expected to love this book, which is why it’s such a let down that I did not enjoy much else from the story. I found the plot to be so boring and extremely repetitive. The entirety of the novel felt like the same few scenes over and over and over.

    Additionally, the romance was terrible in my opinion. I have no gripes with novels that rely heavily on romance; Romance novels are great! The issue for me arises when a book is entirely dependent on romance to forward the plot, and the romance is

    . I can be pretty lenient when it comes to insta-love, but I cannot get behind it when there is no reason for the main couple to fall for each other. Penny and Bo have nothing in common, they have absolutely no chemistry, and they loved each other immediately just because the other person was there. I admit to having growing high standards for YA romance but it infuriates me to see romance with no reason behind it.

    I felt zero attachment to any characters in this story. Penny, Bo, the Swan Sisters, the girls they overtook, NO ONE held my interest. The majority of them were severely one-dimensional and stereotypical and even characters with more layers were very bland. Good characters can carry a bad plot, but even the most unique and innovative storyline cannot be saved by flat characters.

    I can see why so many people have loved

    . I truly wish I was one of them but this book unfortunately fell below my standards. It had so much potential, so many possibilities to be exciting and unique, but I was woefully unimpressed. I would consider reading from Shea Ernshaw again in the future because her ability to create atmosphere was fantastic, but I can easily name many more paranormal stories that have a great ambience along with well-rounded characters, a meaningful romance, and entertaining plot.

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