Review | The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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.

A small town + a witches’ curse that (literally) demands death? That sounded like the perfect Halloween book – and since Halloween is my favourite holiday, I knew I had to give The Wicked Deep a read.

The Wicked Deep was wonderfully atmospheric, with its waterfront setting, eerie happenings, and beautiful writing. Short segments detailing the lives of the Swan sisters/”witches” were interspersed among present-day dealings with the curse; these additions were my favourite parts, and I would happily read more about the sisters’ backstories.

The plot of The Wicked Deep was filled with twists, many of which I saw coming. This didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story, though, as it was dark, incredibly engaging, and I devoured it in one sitting.

The one aspect where The Wicked Deep was lacking was the romance. There was little chemistry and I couldn’t get on board with how quickly it occurred or the one-dimensional nature of the love interest.

Overall, The Wicked Deep was well-written and atmospheric, though the love story left a lot to be desired. That said, I can’t wait to see what Shea Ernshaw writes next.

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