Review | The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Published by: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


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.


Love is an enchantress—devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.

Hell has no fury than witches hell-bent on revenge. Shea Ernshaw’s debut novel The Wicked Deep is just as enchanting as it is haunting. For days to come, I’ll be mourning over this poignant and heartbreaking tale.

I will always have a penchant for witch stories. Witches have created the foundation of my love for fantasy books. Unfortunately, they’ve lost their luster over the years, but Shea will remind you why lore of witches is the backbone of a great novel. She’ll remind you why you love them.

I find writing this review hard. I’m an emotional reader even though I don’t like admitting that fact. And this beautiful and eloquent debut novel tore at me, and reading it took much longer than I thought it would. The Wicked Deep ensnares you, wraps around your heart, then rips it out, and all the while, you still have a smile on your face. I needed breaks while reading it.

Sparrow, Oregon is haunted by witches. In the 19th century, whether they’re witches or not, three sisters—Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan—who charmed the men of the town lost their lives when they were convicted of witchcraft and drowned for their crimes. And every year since, they torment the town by possessing the daughters who then, in turn, drown the sons. When an outsider, Bo Carter, wanders into town, Penny Talbot knows she must protect him even if the both of them are hiding secrets.

This town is perched on the edge of tragedy and revenge. The sisters’ death is woven throughout the fabric of the town as the residents and tourists flock to the water’s edge to celebrate the Swan season, the time when the sisters return. The Wicked Deep depends on the folklore of the town. Shea doesn’t incorporate a lot of world building, but Sparrow itself is a character that walks within this story. She injects an atmospheric tone that delivers a morbid and eerie storyline, one I haven’t seen in awhile. But what I enjoyed is the characters though.

Penny is an outcast who cares for her mother, who mourns over the disappearance of her father. She’s content with her life even if her friend wants her to leave. But Bo changes everything for her. They both complement each other. Their relationship is built on delicate layers of lies, hasty trust, and intense yet rushed attraction. But I would prefer for a better set up though. It has an insta-love feel, which leads to the story’s predictable climax. I was hoping to see more of the sisters though, but Shea does include flashbacks to the past.

I could rave about Shea’s writing for days. She’s has a wonderful talent that I hope to see more of. And I’m counting down the days to her next story. The Wicked Deep is a captivating novel steeped in whimsical lore. It will take you on an emotional journey that may surprise you. I recommend this as your next read. Sparrow will capture you just as much as it has me.

But how do you let yourself unravel in front of someone, knowing your armor is the only thing keeping you safe?

7 thoughts on “Review | The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

  1. Oh, this sounds so great. I love the mythology behind it, and it sounds like it was a really poignant and haunting read. Definitely adding to the TBR! Wonderful review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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