The Wicked Deep | Book Review #28

Happy Friday, guys!

Today I’m reviewing The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. I loved her first book and I wanted to read the next one, which was this book, by this month. It was a short read compared to my usual 500-800 p. books. I was confused to choose which one to review today and thought of going with this one since it’s still fresh in my mind.

I’m speaking about drowning and killing, so if it’s too sensitive topic, then I’d ask you to skip this review.

About the Book

Title: The Wicked Deep • By: Shea Ernshaw

Published on:  08 Mar 2018  • By: Simon & Schuster UK

Pace: Fast • Pages: 314 • Age: 14+

StandaloneGenre: YA (Paranormal) Fiction

Song: Lovely by Billie Eilish, Khalid

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.


Lumiere Island

Our 17 years old MC, Penny, lived on an island on the other side of Sparrow. She’d sail across the water to schools and meet her friend, Rose, every single day. No one except for Penny and her mom lived on the Lumiere Island. This island was dark save for the lighthouse. It was always dark there and no one from Sparrow would go to this island unless necessary. This island sounded spooky, what with the wasted orchards, rainstorms, shadows moving around and shipwrecks scattered across the island. But in daylight, it was serene and peaceful. Only in the dark it’d become something more eerie.

Penny’s mom used to practice Tasseography, the art of reading tea leaves. She stopped it after her husband went missing years ago. She was just a phantom of the person she was and her ability to predict when people would visit the island was uncanny.

You get to see more of this island when Bo arrives there. He’d cut the overgrown bushes and restored the orchard to some extent. His relationship with Penny escalated too fast. He went from being the tourist to boyfriend really fast. If that had happened in a steady manner then I’d have loved this book.

Swan Sisters

The Swan Sisters are the stars of this book. Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel wanted a fresh start from their past, so they left NY and came to Sparrow, Oregon in 1822. They were perfumers who came up with new scents and fragrances that were unlike any perfumes made before. They weren’t docile like the other women in the town, so when they went to taverns and drank their heart out, they were already in the most-disliked-people list of the town. They had the ability to make men— married, young, and unmarried— fallin love (lust) with them.

They were already categorized as witches because no poor guy would lust or love them without being hexed by them. It was interesting how only these three women were faulted for their so called sins. They were blamed for everything because they were witches. Why else would their good husbands/sons would go after these women?

The Swan sisters shouldn’t have encouraged people to think that they were witches. Maybe then, they could have saved themselves but they left the rumors to spread without confronting or negating them, which made people believe that they were actually witches.

The reasons they came up with to prove these three were witches in the witch trial were nonsensical. It didn’t make sense but people always believed what they want to believe. That’s a line that’s being repeated a lot in Spin the Dawn which I’m borrowing here. We get to read about their trial and their life before each chapter began. It was a perspective that showed these women in a different light and also highlighted the hypocrisy of those witch hunters.

Morbid Tourism

People across the country, neighbouring towns visited Sparrow to witness and celebrate June 1st. If you’re wondering what’s so great about this day then we will have to go back to 200 years ago when three sisters were drowned on June 1st. In Sparrow, students and tourist anticipate this day like none other. It’s a carnival of sorts which they “celebrate” each year to commemorate these sisters’ death. They’d never spared anyone even if they weren’t from Sparrow. So it was a dangerous situation for the tourists but they never seemed to heed to the warning though.

It was so unnerving to read about a town celebrating death in this manner. What made this day special in it’s own morbid way was that every year people would line up on the shores waiting for the song to begin. It’s called the sisters’ song which lures boys into the water and drowns them. This has happened for 200 years and people are still finding it a mystery.

It was murder backed up by myths and legends around these sisters. It was their revenge on the townspeople for drowning them on June 1st of 1822.I loved the description of the song in the book. Like Winterwood, this book also was enchanting but in a more creepy way. The song had a croony, lulling effect on the listener, as well as the reader, that made me feel the cold that was exuding from the water.


The Wicked Deep is beguiling, haunting and bone-chilling . I loved the legend of the Swan siters. They were the main highlight of this book. They were cold-hearted witches who avenged their death by killing boys every summer since 1822. They were sirens, witches and their magic was fuelled by hate for the town that refused to listen to them and killed them. Even after 200 years, they never stopped killing. They were tried and drowned for being witches. They were accused of using witchcraft not to gain glory, fame or power, but to lure “innocent” men. While I still have qualms with the romance and the predictable plot of this book, I enjoyed the writing. It was phenomenal in a true Shea Ernshaw way. I’d recommend this book if you like paranormal fiction. It’s an unputdownable and engrossing read till the end.

Magic is a tricky thing. Not easily measured or metered or weighed.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
TW // Drowning, Murder, Mention of Suicide, Mental Illness
About the Author

Shea Ernshaw is a NYT bestselling author and winner of the Oregon Book Award. Her books have been published in over twelve countries/languages, and her novels The Wicked Deep and Winterwood were Indie Next Picks. Her debut adult fiction novel A History of Wild Places will release in December of 2021. She lives in a small mountain town in Oregon, and is happiest when lost in a good book, lost in the woods, or writing her next novel.

Have you read this novel or is it on your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams”.

— H.G. Wells

Paperbacktomes Gratitude Pic 2021


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