The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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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.

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 I’m supposed to believe that Hazel was there the whole time? I felt like the plot twist didn’t feel as organic to me since I should have been able to pick up the differences. Also, like, Bo just wanted to murder a bunch of people and this is okay????? Anyone that’s all like, “Let’s get down to business to murder the young teenage girls that just happen to have a crazy witch in it” is not a favorite of mine? END OF SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.

belle tag
Even Belle was a little iffy on this one.

The plot had its moments and it didn’t. I was in deep with it, but also it got super questionable at other parts. Like, people are off being murdered but let’s stay in a cottage for 3 days and then wander around an apple orchard? ALSO, CAN WE HAVE A MOMENT BECAUSE THE MAJOR PLOT TWIST GOT ME? I might have been too busy snapchatting, but I mean, my pride is bruised because I really didn’t see it coming.

Okay, so I went super in-depth there. THIS BOOK JUST MADE ME HAVE SO THOUGHTS. I might have been a little too rough with the review at parts, but I think the atmosphere, the pacing, the writing for the most part, and the premise were great. I sped through this book so fast, and it was just so easy to read. I did have quite a few issues with it, but I did have fun. This book is basically the ideal book for fall or Halloween, and it’S JUST REALLY REALLY PRETTY. Totally valid reasons to pick it up. XD Just know you’re going to have an interesting time. 3 crowns and a Belle rating!


What do you think? What did you think about this? Is this one of your most anticipated reads? How much do you love an atmosphere in a book? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
mandy signature

UN Human Right #9

9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.

Wellllllllllllll, there really isn’t a prison in this EXCEPT FOR THE PRISON OF THEIR MIND. Or, well, the prison of the shady barn with a bunch of teenagers literally going crazy and having legit no supervision except for some hundred year old witches – and they do don’t count. Anyway, these witches and terrible teens of the town, Sparrow, definitely weren’t aware of this right since they were detaining people physically and mentally left and right, taking away their right.

Join Book Princess Reviews in the April #30daysofHumanRightsBPR Blog Challenge! Participate with blog posts inspired by the UN Human Rights or Insta/Twitter pics and quotes w/ human rights themes. Find out more here!

12 thoughts on “The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

  1. Haha so basically, you felt one way, but didn’t at the same time? Sounds plenty intriguing to me. 😉 Awesome review! Not sure if I’ll be picking this one up, but I am quite curious to see how the writing is; I mean, I’m absolute trash for deep, emo prose lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahahaha I really was at such odds with this one. I loved it but hated it all in the same moment. And it’s very on the fence. LOL the deep emo prose would come so suddenly that I was like woah, what just happened? But there were some fantastic deep emo lines. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still mad at this book. Like Yeah Penny and Bo worked..but by the end Penny and Bo did not work for me. But your absolutely right the atmosphere was a shining star and it is a perfect Halloweeny read! Lovely review, Mandy!

    Liked by 1 person

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