The Wicked Deep

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
2250 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

 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1910, twelve-year-old Savannah lives with her widowed father on...
The Neighborhood Surprise
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
All the children in the neighborhood like Mrs. Fig. She...
Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jet is not like any other cat . . ....
Clique Here: A Wish Novel
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lily loves science and hanging out with her best friend,...
Smoke and Mirrors: The Heartstone
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Corbin, a powerful shapeshifting young mage, was just beginning to...
Better Together
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in New York Times...
Llama Llama Meets the Babysitter
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
With over 30 million copies in print, Anna Dewdney's New...
City (Wheels at Work)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Delivering, collecting, transporting and recycling! Lift the flap to see...
A Season of Flowers
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Michael Garland (Daddy Played the Blues) displays his impressive illustration...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Great Storm of 1893 evicts 15-year-old Gabbie from her...
You Are Fantastic!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Hello!Lucky, the creators of My Mom Is Magical! and...
Early One Morning
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Join a little boy searching the farm for his breakfast...
Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Little Forest Family
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A little tree, guided by her family circle and forest...
The Little Things: A Story about Acts of Kindness
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
One girl’s simple act of kindness causes ripples in her...
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this sequel to The Kinder Poison—which People magazine proclaimed...

Latest Member Reviews

The Neighborhood Surprise
 
4.0
"THE NEIGHBORHOOD SURPRISE is a sweet picture book about community coming together. Mrs. Fig is one of the favorite neighbors..."
Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)
 
5.0
"JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) is a charming picture book about a cat who does not quite fit..."
Clique Here: A Wish Novel
 
5.0
"Lily has decided she really needs to leave her private school after an embarrassing incident with mean girl Courtenay, so..."
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
 
4.0
"Mars Patel idolizes Oliver Pruitt, a powerful tech giant who also runs Pruitt Prep. Mars and his friends Toothpick, JP,..."
Llama Llama Meets the Babysitter
 
4.0
"LLAMA LLAMA MEETS THE BABYSITTER is an overall fun new installment in the Llama Llama series. Following the usual format..."
You Are Fantastic!
 
5.0
"YOU ARE FANTASTIC! is a brightly colored and cheerful read celebrating YOU! The book walks through some metaphorical compliments, such..."
Early One Morning
 
3.5
"EARLY ONE MORNING is a picture book walk around a farm. A little boy heads out to find a couple..."
Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Little Forest Family
 
4.5
"LITTLE SAP is a beautifully illustrated story about growing up, seasons, and forests. Little Sap can't wait to be a..."
The Little Things: A Story about Acts of Kindness
 
5.0
"THE LITTLE THINGS is a charming and powerful story about the contagious nature of kindness. A little girl heads to..."
Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure
 
4.0
"DUCKS ON THE ROAD is a charming and simple picture book with a counting theme. Mama and Papa Duck are..."
Sloth and Smell the Roses
 
5.0
"SLOTH AND SMELL THE ROSES is another charming and colorful book from the fantastic sister duo, Eunice and Sabrina Moyle...."
Bird House
 
5.0
"BIRD HOUSE is a lovely story about a young girl and her abuela, who find an injured bird. They treat..."
More Than Sunny
 
4.5
"MORE THAN SUNNY is a sweet picture book about siblings, seasons, and childhood fun. The story features two siblings who..."
Busy Little Ladybug
 
3.5
"BUSY LITTLE LADYBUG is a cute board book about a ladybug that loves colors. Ladybug wants to figure out what..."
One Springy, Singy Day
 
4.5
"ONE SPRINGY, SINGY DAY is a brightly colored and fun celebration of spring. Told in rhyming text, the book follows..."
The Lost Continent (Wings of Fire, Book 11)
 
5.0
"It was a good book i really want to buy is so i can read it all the time. I..."
Boy, Everywhere
 
5.0
"Sami has a happy and secure life in Damascus, Syria. His mother is a teacher, his father is a doctor,..."
That Thing About Bollywood
 
4.0
"Sonali misses her grandfather, who ran a video rental store that specialized in Bollywood films, so she enjoys the family..."
Thanks a Lot, Universe
 
4.0
"Brian has anxiety at the best of times. He manages at school, and was on the basketball team, but he..."
One Girl
 
3.5
"In very spare poetry, we see how the spark of a book encourages one girl to investigate the information in..."