Review #193 // The Wicked Deep – Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep

In the town of Sparrow, there is a fifth season. The Swan Season is when the three Swan sisters, killed over two centuries ago for being witches, come back to life by inhabiting the bodies of teenage girls. Every year, they kill boys in the town of Sparrow. And to Penny, this is the norm, and it will never change–until a newcomer makes her second-guess everything.

Why this book?: Because it sounded amazing and spooky. Plus I’ve seen a lot of people on twitter rave about this book, so I just had to try it out.

This book could have been something amazing. It could have been spooky, it could have been intense, and it could have been the best witch-y book I’d ever read. Instead, The Wicked Deep focuses intently on one of the blandest and most pointless romances I have ever read. If you’re thinking about reading this book because the witch aspect sounds cool, just forget about it! Because the romance takes over about 50-pages in, and it doesn’t let go.

As most of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of romance. I’ll read it if it’s well developed and necessary to the story, if it has a reason behind it. But when it’s shoved into the story line without any reason, all insta-lovey and bland, than no thank you. I don’t even know where to start with the romance. It was badly developed, this girl who’s always prided herself on being an outcast from the locals, falls for this stranger within the first few hours of knowing him. I would have still be trying to figure out if he was an ax murderer. I won’t be getting into this part as much because it’s a spoiler, but I also felt that the romance was fairly manipulative after a point. Both characters didn’t have all of the cards in their hands, and they both still went with it anyways. 

Besides the dreadful romance, the characters were all mostly bland as well. Penny was not-like-other-girls, living on an island and not having a phone and basically priding herself on that. Penny had limited interactions with other students, but everyone seemed to either be BFFs with her, or hate her, which doesn’t make sense because Penny was never around anyways. Penny’s friend Rose was also fairly bland, just being there and not having much personality. Plus, why were they even friends in the first place? Most, if not all, of the characters in this book were one-dimensional and bland, with very little to back up any of their interactions with Penny or the townspeople. At one point, this character is a jock and fairly popular–at another point, he’s an asshole and no one likes him. Where’s the consistency?

I did really enjoy the part of the story dealing with witchcraft and the sisters, as much as I hated everything else. I love how the town overall was characterized, accepting their curse because they knew they deserved it. I also really enjoyed the sisters as characters themselves, especially in the flashbacks. It was interesting to see them fleshed out as people in the past, and to see what they’ve devolved into as they’ve continued to live longer than they should have. I really wish the curse and the witchcraft was utilized more, because that would have made the story so much better, rather than focusing on the romance.

Final Rating: ★★½☆☆☆


I really, really struggled with this book. I wanted to love it, I really thought this would be a new favorite. But then the romance was thrown in, and everything else was thrown out, and I had no energy left for that kind of bullshit. I will say that the twist at the end, despite my predicting it just over a quarter through the book, was an interesting choice. It did contribute to my feelings of the romance being manipulative, but it was still a wild choice.

And a wild choice that didn’t really fit with the first person narration.

Would I Recommend?

Probably not. Maybe someone else would like the romance more than I did, but I have seen a lot of reviews saying that they didn’t like the romance. Also the love interest’s name is Bo and I honestly couldn’t get over that. So if you’re willing to read through badly developed and manipulative romance, as well as some really confusing writing and bland characters, be my guest!

The Wicked Deep

Additional Information:

Published: March 6th, 2018

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Page Count: 308

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/Paranormal

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.

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