The Wicked Deep

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
2040 0
The Wicked Deep
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
March 06, 2018
ISBN
1481497340
Buy This Book
      

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them. 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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

So Easily Conjured
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The promise of a novel filled with the essence of both Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus is fulfilled by reading Shea Ernshaw's debut novel, The Wicked Deep. Within these pages is a story filled with regret, revenge, lies, and most of all, love. And every bit of this summertime story is just as wicked and deep as the title assures.

From the beginning, the haunting lyricism with which Ernshaw conjures her story is enough to draw readers in, and what's more, drown them entirely in beautiful language. The style blends a contemporary narrative with historical elements given through the titled chapters spread throughout the entirety of the novel. Though the narration of these titled chapters does not follow the linear action of the novel, they are just as captivating as the world seen through Penny Talbot's eyes. Penny believes deep in her bones that the three Swan sisters who were drowned in the harbor of Sparrow, Oregon 200 years ago, do indeed return each summer to drown as many teenage boys as they can. It becomes most clear that "magic was not always so linear. It was born from odium. From love. From revenge." And what begins as a story of revenge soon becomes one filled with love.

Throughout the story, tensions remain high, stakes fraught with the impending deaths of innocent boys. There is a ticking clock to keep readers swept up in the urgency of the story; the Swan season wanes toward the summer solstice, which marks the day the sisters were drowned after being accused of witchcraft so many centuries ago. Like the descendants of Salem, Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan were not witches. Yet, they're resurrected every summer, taking over the bodies of young girls in town before slipping from the skins back to the ocean below. It's a rather dire set of circumstances in a town that knows entirely too much of their tragic fates, best explained within the narrative:

"Murder. That's precisely what it is. Calling it a curse does not unmake the truth of what happens here each year...It's as predictable as the tide and the moon. It ebbs and flows. Death comes and goes."

Held within those few lines is the essence of the story, that constant sway between life and death, killer and victim. And the villains of the story, those Swan sisters with the ability to lure boys to their deaths, are proven to be just as flawed and complicated as any good antagonist should be. What was most unexpected, however, was how their villainy washed away as their tragic fates were shared, making it hard not to accept their revenge. Best explained by Penny, "Guilt slithers through me, a thousand regrets, and I wish for things I can't have: a way to undo all the deaths, to save the people who've been lost."

The other characters within this novel are no less authentic. Everyone from Penny's grief-stricken mother to Bo, the new boy in town who hides something just as dark as the town; they all seem to hope for something better. As readers, we learn that "the truth slips between the edges of the lies." These people, like Penny, are broken. She misses her father. Her mother has been driven into darkness most maddening by the disappearance of her husband three years before, and Bo found his way to Sparrow filled with his own heartbreaks. At their core, they are all searching the shores for something. Like Bo explains:

"They're always reasons to stay. You just need to find one reason to leave."

Shea Ernshaw's strengths within this debut do not merely lie at the bottom of an ocean filled with exquisite language, intricate history, and poignant characters, but rather imbue power into the story with elements of magical realism. The notions of curses and revenge, of momentary resurrection and ghosts might be hard to comprehend amidst the contemporary small town setting. But this is the farthest thing from a summer beach read because of the elements of magical realism woven throughout the narrative in a manner that seems so easily conjured. These details act as a juxtaposition to the haunting reality of death. From the forgetful cakes Penny's best friend's mother bakes, "intended to make you forget the worst thing that's ever happened to you--to wipe away bad memories," to the way Penny and her mother are able to divine the future by reading tea leaves; there is a hint of magic in everything. This acts as a way for the reader to better comprehend the strange events of Sparrow, Oregon, and thus, too, the characters to accept that something wicked most certainly comes from the sea.

Sparrow is a mysterious place, while Penny's home at Lumiere island acts as a protection against everything happening around her. The lighthouse is able to shine light onto the murky truths beneath the waves, and as such, the island becomes its own kind of character within the novel. Just as Penny and Bo gravitate toward the orchards and cottages, the reader, too, will feel bound to the island and the veil of safety it offers against the brutality of the risen sisters.

Reading the line, "Some places are bound in by magic. Ensnared by it," this feels like truth carefully crafted to encompass the marks we leave, even after we're gone. So too, does this truth: "Ghosts remain. But sometimes, the past is the only thing keeping a place alive...But it persists, because it must. Penance is a long, unforgiving thing. It endures, for without it, the past is forgotten." Throughout this book, there were many more lines and paragraphs, which took my breath as I drowned within them, ensnared by Ernshaw's skill to take the reader deep into her characters' lives. Lines resonate long after being read. None so much as:

"Perhaps we all have some oddity, some strangeness we keep hidden along our edges, things we see the we can't explain, things we wish for, things we run from."

In the end, Shea Ernshaw's debut, The Wicked Deep, will leave readers under its eerie spell. Though this book is a standalone with a satisfying conclusion, it is clear that "endings are never so simple." And navigating this haunting tale to the last page will leave readers looking forward to whatever Ernshaw conjures next!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

A Curse of Roses
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an...
I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From beloved children's author and illustrator Tony Ross, comes a...
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As her grandmother's health declines, a young girl begins to...
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for...
Sing Like No One's Listening
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a talented young singer...
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first book in an epic and romantic YA...
The Good Girls
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
One of Us Is Lying meets Sadie in this...
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Iduna harbors a dark secret. On the surface,...
The Camelot Betrayal
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every summer, they say goodbye. Dorit goes to Tel Aviv...
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this illustrated guide, discover fascinating and unusual information about...
Special Delivery
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lovely book to share with children in an expecting...
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hundreds of irresistible, reusable, and collectible stickers to mix, match,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle...
Winter Light
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
WINTER LIGHT is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fight like a magical girl in this paperback original contemporary...

Latest Member Reviews

I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
"I DON'T WANT TO WASH MY HANDS is a picture book about the need for frequent hand washing. The little..."
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
"DANCE LIKE A LEAF is a beautiful book about grief and loss of a loved one. A young girl loves..."
Special Delivery
 
4.0
"SPECIAL DELIVERY is a delightfully silly picture book. A little duck is eagerly awaiting the delivery of her baby brother...."
Minecraft: The Shipwreck
 
5.0
"Jake and his father have moved around quite a bit after the death of his mother. His father is a..."
The Tiny Baker
 
5.0
"THE TINY BAKER is the sweet story of a baker bee who runs a bakery and tea shop. Every day,..."
A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India
 
5.0
"A GIFT FOR AMMA is a delightful and colorful journey through the marketplace in India. A young girl ventures out..."
Five Little Ducks: First Book of Nursery Rhymes
 
5.0
"FIVE LITTLE DUCKS is a delightful collection of nursery rhymes. The book includes many rhymes that are familiar alongside those..."
The Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story
 
4.0
"THE BREAD PET is a cute story about Cora, whose favorite uncle asks her to take care of his sourdough..."
Scruff
 
3.5
"SCRUFF is a cute picture book story of a man who gets a scruffy dog, which suits his scruffy style..."
Making Tracks: City
 
5.0
"MAKING TRACKS: CITY is a fun lift-the-flap board book that features tracks and asks who made them. When children lift..."
Amazing Islands
 
4.5
"'Amazing Islands' by Sabrina Weiss and Kerry Hyndman is a beautifully illustrated book, chock full of valuable information about islands..."
The Walrus and the Caribou
 
4.5
"'The Walrus and the Caribou' by Maika Harper, illustrated by Marcus Cutler, is an endearing tale of creation, based on..."
The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
 
5.0
"THE BOY, THE WOLF, AND THE STARS is an enchanting middle grade fantasy. Bo was left in the woods as..."
Friend Me
 
5.0
"Roisin has moved from Dublin, Ireland to the Boston area with her mother and older brother Michael. Her mother works..."
Tiger Wild
 
3.0
"TIGER WILD is a picture book about imaginary friends and getting into trouble. Lily always blames her mistakes on Tiger,..."
Bea by the Sea
 
5.0
"BEA BY THE SEA is a sweet picture book about trying new things and making new friends. Bea loves lions..."
Let's Find the Kitten
 
5.0
"LET'S FIND THE KITTEN is a cute hide-and-seek, lift-the-flap board book. Kitten is hiding, but we don't know where. As..."
Winston Wiggles
 
4.0
"WINSTON WIGGLES is a cute book that gives strategies for helping children to settle down when they have the "wiggles."..."
Sweet Dreams: A Goodnight Lullaby
 
4.0
"SWEET DREAMS: A GOODNIGHT LULLABY is a great bedtime book pick for children who love Sesame Street. Sesame Street is..."
Best Friends, Busy Friends
 
4.0
"BEST FRIENDS, BUSY FRIENDS is a fun, rhyming book that celebrates differences and friendship. This book is a poetic rhyme..."