The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw | Review


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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: murder, death, the death of a parent, death of a sibling, grief, drowning

Pages: 320

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: urban fantasy, witches, young adult, paranormal, fantasy

Goodreads blurb:

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. 



I went through a few different stages while reading The Wicked Deep. My first stage was immense interest, despite what I found to be mediocre writing I was super curious about the plot. Then the book hit a snag with the romance and I was suddenly guessing everything correctly, which led me to be incredibly bored. It makes this book incredibly difficult to talk about and it seems as if I’m the only one who hasn’t fallen for the hype. I just had some serious problems with some stuff at the end that I can’t get past, some of which made me feel a bit icky (for lack of better word).

The Wicked Deep is about Penny Talbot who lives in the town of Sparrow. She cares for her mum, who has been struggling to cope since her dad went missing one summer and never returned. Nor was a body found. Her grief-stricken mother has simply stopped doing any, which has left Penny struggling to decide what to do in her future. That doesn’t matter though, because the town of Sparrow is about to have its yearly drowning season.

Sparrow is an interesting one, the history of the town has basically meant it doomed itself. In the past, the town drowned three young women for courting married and single men. The town believed these women to be witches simply because no woman could attract that much female attention. The women are drowned in the ocean. However, Sparrow did not see the last of the Swan sisters that fateful day.

For two centuries the Swan sisters have come back once a year for around a week, putting themselves in the bodies of the young girls of the town. It’s in these girls’ bodies that they drown the young boys of Sparrow, pulling them into the depths like the people of Sparrow did to them. They aren’t picky in what bodies they choose or who they drown but it all changes one summer when Hazel, the youngest of the Swan sisters, falls in love while in the body she has chosen.

Honestly, it rubbed me the wrong way. Especially with events in the book – there’s a sex scene mentioned while Hazel is in the body of the girl she chose and he doesn’t know. It just felt wrong? I honestly don’t know if it is wrong, which is super naïve of me but I can’t find anything online so I apologise, I just wanted to mention it since the girl Hazel is inhabiting is not in control of her body.

Anyway, whatever, there’s the plot. Probably the best plot description I’ve ever done. Ya girl is growing. Let’s jump into those pesky likes and dislikes.



The storyline was interesting. Who doesn’t want to read about girls getting their revenge for centuries on a town? I know I do, which probably makes me a little twisted. I was just so excited for what I was going to read. It seemed too good to be true and unfortunately in this case it was. However, that doesn’t mean the storyline wasn’t interesting. It was going places, it really was, and it was one of the most twisted and intricate stories I’ve read.


If this book had been 100% the Swan sisters extracting their revenge on the town it would have been better, or, if it had simply focused on the past. The inclusion of Penny Talbot ruined the story for me, so I guess that makes sense as to why the backstory was my favourite part of this book.

The backstory that focuses on the Swan sisters preferably, because you also get flashbacks throughout the book to continue building suspense and allowing you snippets of things that the characters don’t even know.


For 50% I was basically glued to my kind and desperately wanting to get to the end of the book. Once the big ‘plot twist’ dropped I was ready to DNF and put my kindle down. It seems I hate myself though because I dragged myself through the end of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I really do get why people enjoy this book. It was a dark, gritty tale that focuses on witches. For some reason, I thought it was mermaids, but that’s my fault for not reading blurbs (as usual).



I hated the romance. It makes my skin crawl at the idea of it. Why did no one think to take it out? Why is everything done for ‘love’? It’s literally so annoying and I wanted to rip my eyeballs out of my head while reading it.

I haven’t mentioned him at all, but the love interest in Bo Carter. A mysterious stranger who comes to the town not knowing anything of the drowning secrets. He does harbour secrets though, as does literally everyone in the book.


I guessed it from about chapter two, and I was so disappointed when it turned out I was right. I wanted something different in this book to make it exciting, but it didn’t. I really can’t say much without giving away spoilers, hence the weird way I’ve phrased things in this review. It really isn’t a surprise though. Though, I am curious. If you’ve read this book were you surprised?


It was just bland, honestly. It lacked the magic I wanted from a book about witches and drama and murder. It was just pretty straightforward and nothing exciting. It read almost like every book I read before. On top of that, sometimes the dialogue was not how teenagers talk at all.


Blah, I’d rather not. If you’ve drowned men for centuries you don’t suddenly get forgiven because one summer you’ve decided to change your mind for a guy. No thanks. I would have really preferred that the character remained one that didn’t get forgiven. She really didn’t deserve it so it doesn’t make any sense as to why at the end of the book I was meant to believe Hazel was the best thing since sliced bread.

She’s not, by the way, nothing even comes close to sliced bread anyway. If you want to create morally grey characters please stick to them and stop trying to make me forgive them when they’re bad people.

Overall, The Wicked Deep wasn’t a bad book despite all my complaining. I just wanted more and I think that is fair of me to say because the romance was a mess. A straight up mess. Plus apologist arcs aren’t necessary so please stop including them, bad people can just be bad people. I would still probably recommend this book since I gave it three stars for that first half but also I want to drown a copy of this book.

What are your thoughts on The Wicked Deep? Have you read it? Are you going to read it? Tell me below, I’m super curious about your thoughts.


Happy reading everyone!

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

  1. Interesting. The plot summary makes it sound super good, but from your review & others I’ve read, I think I’ll pass. (especially the idea of that sex scene? That sounds super bad & abusive?)
    Thanks for sharing! I haven’t seen if this book is super hyped but I know it’s hard to write clear reviews when everyone seems to love a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was honestly such an interesting concept, just needed some better execution. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds the sex scene a bit weird! Thank you so much 😊


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