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The Wicked Deep

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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.

310 pages, Hardcover

First published March 6, 2018

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About the author

Shea Ernshaw

8 books4,472 followers

Shea Ernshaw is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Indie Bestselling author of the YA books: THE WICKED DEEP, WINTERWOOD, A WILDERNESS OF STARS, and LONG LIVE THE PUMPKIN QUEEN. Her debut adult fiction novel, A HISTORY OF WILD PLACES, was an Indie Next Pick and a Book of the Month selection. She is also the winner of the Oregon Book Award.
She often writes late, late, late into the night, enjoys dark woods, scary stories and moonlight on lakes.

You can connect with her here:

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5 stars
10,451 (28%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,419 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,771 followers
April 25, 2023
The Wicked Deep is an eerily beautiful book; hella atmospheric and immersive. I was absolutely swept away.

I can see myself revisiting it for years to come. I'm like...

The Wicked Deep received a lot of hype and in this case, I feel it's warranted. The main thing I was looking for with this story was, ATMOSPHERE.

The author delivered that in spades. Ernshaw's descriptions of the small seaside town of Sparrow, Oregon; of the island, the weather and the tourists, was 100% relatable to me.

I live on a small island myself. One that is a tourist destination and at times, in a way that can feel exploitative. I could feel the wind, the mist, the fog, the influx of outsiders, the weight of it was palatable and I thought Ernshaw brought that feeling to life.

Ernshaw's writing is enchanting, using breathtaking descriptions to weave together her tale.

The Wicked Deep reads like a modern-day fairy tale, full of witches, magic, curses, revenge, mystery and love. It checked all of my boxes for an enjoyable and whimsical narrative.

I loved how she gave us insights into the times of the Swan sisters as well. That was a neat little twist I wasn't expecting, to have that historical perspective.

The modern and historical were seamlessly brought together. It gave such depth to the story and the characters.

"Love is an enchantress - devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat."

When love stories are combined with ghost stories, I find them so haunting. One of my favorites for bringing these two elements together is Stephen King's, Bag of Bones.

While they are completely different animals, that one being heavily adult and this one very YA, I feel they both combined those two elements to create a spooky and memorable ghost story.

Both stories truly get under your skin and sit there; making you simultaneously warm and cold.

I am actually glad this is going to be adapted. I feel like it could translate well visually.

The present day story follows local girl, Penny Talbot. She lives out on Lumiere Island tending the lighthouse with her mother, who isn't well. Penny is likable, if a bit aloof, but definitely someone you can get behind and cheer for.

When a new guy, Bo, arrives in town, she ends up giving him a job on the island helping with the lighthouse seeing to tasks gone to pot since her father disappeared.

I enjoyed her relationship with Bo. Watching its evolution felt mysterious, like more was hidden right under the surface.

For me, the big reveal was bloody fantastic. I did not see it coming. I didn't, maybe I am an idiot but regardless, I felt it was really well done.

My favorite character, of course, was Marguerite Swan. I got strong Slytherin vibes from her. She's described as ' vengeful & clever...single-minded in her hatred for the town...'

Yep, I dig that.

Getting the perspectives on the Swan sisters, as I mentioned above, was a real treat. This story could have been done without that historical element, but I am glad that Ernshaw chose to write it this way.

Reading and understanding the motivations for ghosts, or spirits haunting a person, place or thing, is not something you see a lot of. I really, really enjoyed it.

Overall, I absolutely adored this story. I cannot praise it enough and will absolutely be reading it again!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
July 30, 2018
2.5 Stars. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I wanted to.

CW: murder, drowning, suicide

There is one thing I absolutely loved about this book: the atmosphere. I made a fantastic choice in listening to the audiobook – the narrator added to the story in the best way. The chilling, spooky setting of this recluse town with a magical history kept me engaged even when I did not care for the characters and plot. This book was pitched as similar to “Hocus Pocus” and while the storylines do not compare, the ambience of the story evokes such a similar feeling.

I realized about halfway through the story that I greatly preferred the flashbacks to when the Swan Sisters were alive to the present story following Penny and Bo. This is interesting for me because typically, I feel flashbacks often impede my enjoyment of a story because I almost always care about the main characters more, but that was not the case with The Wicked Deep. I think I would have preferred almost any other story set in this town with the Swan Sister’s influence over what we actually got.

I REALLY enjoyed the story in the beginning, the first few chapters were extremely appealing and I expected to love this book, which is why it’s such a let down that I did not enjoy much else from the story. I found the plot to be so boring and extremely repetitive. The entirety of the novel felt like the same few scenes over and over and over.

Additionally, the romance was terrible in my opinion. I have no gripes with novels that rely heavily on romance; Romance novels are great! The issue for me arises when a book is entirely dependent on romance to forward the plot, and the romance is not good. I can be pretty lenient when it comes to insta-love, but I cannot get behind it when there is no reason for the main couple to fall for each other. Penny and Bo have nothing in common, they have absolutely no chemistry, and they loved each other immediately just because the other person was there. I admit to having growing high standards for YA romance but it infuriates me to see romance with no reason behind it.

I felt zero attachment to any characters in this story. Penny, Bo, the Swan Sisters, the girls they overtook, NO ONE held my interest. The majority of them were severely one-dimensional and stereotypical and even characters with more layers were very bland. Good characters can carry a bad plot, but even the most unique and innovative storyline cannot be saved by flat characters.

I can see why so many people have loved The Wicked Deep. I truly wish I was one of them but this book unfortunately fell below my standards. It had so much potential, so many possibilities to be exciting and unique, but I was woefully unimpressed. I would consider reading from Shea Ernshaw again in the future because her ability to create atmosphere was fantastic, but I can easily name many more paranormal stories that have a great ambience along with well-rounded characters, a meaningful romance, and entertaining plot.

This book was sent to me unsolicited and for free by Simon & Schuster. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,165 reviews98.2k followers
August 25, 2018

“It starts as a low croon that rolls in with the tide, a sound so faint it might just be the wind blowing through the clapboard shutters, through the portholes of docked fishing boats, and into narrow cracks along sagging doorways. But after the first night, the harmony of voices become undeniable. An enchanting hymn sailing over the water’s surface, cool and soft and alluring. The Swan sisters have awakened.”

Friends, if you’re looking for something atmospheric, spooky, and completely captivating, that is so very beautifully written, please pick The Wicked Deep up.

I’ll be honest with you all, I felt like this book was calling to me. I’d always see it on Edelweiss, but I had too many ARCS, so I knew I couldn’t allow myself to request it, but it always caught my eye. Then, upon release, everyone was buying it and I thought it was the most beautiful, holographic cover I’ve ever seen, but I still resisted. Then, I couldn’t stop seeing on all my social media feeds that Netflix bought the rights to it and is going to adapt it. Finally, my friend Julie posted she was going to be hosting a buddy read for it, and I knew that I could no longer continue to be haunted by this book. And I’m forever thankful I picked it up.

The Wicked Deep is a story about a small town off the coast of Oregon, called Sparrow, that is the pinnacle of a small, sleepy town, except for in June when tourists come from all around in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Swan sisters who were drowned to death for witchcraft over two hundred years ago. From June 1st until Just 21st (summer solace) no one is safe. And each and every summer, accusations get thrown at more and more girls, from boys who claim them to be the sisters who are responsible for the drownings.

“Magic is not always formed from words, from cauldrons brewing spices or black cats strolling down dark alleys. Some curses are manifested from desire or injustice.”

Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death two centuries ago for witchcraft, but their only crimes are from seducing the men in the town of Sparrow. But every summer the sisters rise from their watery graves, each inhabiting a body of a local girl, while making sure they take at least three boy’s lives while they walk among the town unbeknownst to anyone which local girls are being possessed.

Our main character, Penny, lives on a small island off of the mainland. She keeps to herself despite the small population to begin with, and only truly has one friend named Rose. Rose begs Penny to attend a party on the beach with the rest of the kids from their school, so they can annually welcome the Swan sisters. Penny lives with her mother, who hasn’t been the same since her husband disappeared three years ago. Penny reluctantly goes, meets a mysterious boy who is looking for work, and the sisters start to sing their song.

I really loved reading this. I was instantly thrown into the mystery and guessing game of who the sisters had possessed. I was instantly in love with the town and the mom and pop businesses. I was instantly impressed with the lyrical prose and the intelligently crafted story. I went into this expecting some Hocus Pocus vibes, but I came out enjoying this more than I ever expected.

“Loving someone is dangerous. It gives you something to lose.”

I saw a couple reviews calling this story instalove, but I was honestly swooning so hard for the romance in this book. That first kiss? One of the best first kisses I’ve ever read. I loved the romance(s) in this so much, and I will read any and everything by this author based on how well she wrote those scenes alone.

“Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan slip back into human form, disguised as local girls who emerged from the harbor, but not as themselves.”

My only real complaint comes from the nature of the story. This is ultimately a story about girls being possessed against their will, therefore, the sisters do questionable things with their host’s body without their consent. I can’t say too much, because I want this to be a spoiler free review, but just use caution going into this knowing that. And it’s nothing violent or physically hurtful, but I would argue that there is some grey area consent in this book.

Content and Trigger Warnings: loss of a loved one, abandonment, underage drinking, drunk driving (boats), murder, death, downing, and abduction.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. Shea Ernshaw was able to evoke so many emotions from me. I cried so many tears during this book. I felt so blindsided and I honestly couldn’t control my weeping at a few parts. This story is so beautiful, and it truly is crafted so very well. To say I’m impressed is an understatement, and I can’t wait to see what this author does next, because their debut was nothing short of phenomenal.

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Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Lilly at Lair of Books, Jules at JA Ironside, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Paloma! ❤
Profile Image for Zainab.
381 reviews498 followers
May 18, 2022
If I could give this book a thousand stars I swear to God I would.
Where do I begin? The story is friking magical that's for one. I know it sounds cliche but it is magical. It felt like I was thrown into this one beautiful-slightly haunting- supernatural world and I just did not want to get out. If I had the opportunity I'd never leave the friking place-no joke.
The story is of three 'witches' who were drowned by a town(well, the people of the town) in the 19th century mainly because the guys were too attracted to the lasses and thought ehh they might as well be witches (again, I'm not joking) Then you get to meet our main character Penny in 21st century and how her and the town's life is affected by the three witches (because they kind of come back from the dead and drown as many boys as they can lol)
The romance in this one was so cute! Romance is a very bleh aspect for me, I don't usually care for it especially in Young Adult because I find it very annoying BUT boyyy it was C.U.T.E. The guy Bo is very VERY caring, sweet and chivalrous and I just adored him.
Anyway, read the book (pleasee) It is great.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
February 18, 2019
wow. okay. so first it was a book about rival viking clans, and now its a story about sister witches dying for revenge. how is it that im enjoying all the books i swore i would hate!? i guess all the times i said ‘new year, new me’ made it come true. lolol.

the absolute strength of this book lies in its atmosphere. its not exactly enchanting, because the story is actually quite dark. but there is something so captivating about a haunted sea-side town, a two century old curse, and three witches back from the dead. the writing easily transports the reader into this world, filled with mysteries and secrets, and that alone is worth it to me.

and although there is much to enjoy about this, its not without its faults. the storyline is a bit predicable, there is massive case of insta-love, and the reader is not really given an opportunity to know the characters. i understand why all of these are present in the book, but i cant help but think the story could have been elevated had it been a little more developed across the board.

but, goodness me, i really wish i had read this back in october. the hocus pocus vibes in this book are off the charts. if youre a fan of witches, i highly recommend this!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
March 16, 2019
So I’ve been tossing back and forth all day between a 4 and a 5 over this one, so I think I’m just gonna be that guy and go with a 4.5. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. This was the most beautiful and atmospheric book I’ve read in ages. The setting of this book was PERFECTION and I want 383738251929 books set here, STAT. I will say though, the reason that I was hmmmming so much over my rating is because I saw everything coming in this one. Nothing surprised me at all, but I still loved it and enjoyed reading it SO MUCH. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in reading a really great October-y book in the spring, lol.
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 4 books2,239 followers
October 21, 2018
Two centuries ago three sisters were drowned in the harbor off Sparrow Island after being charged with witchcraft. Ever since then during the Swan Season, a period of time between June 1st and the end of the month, the three sisters return to the island by claiming the body of three young girls. With those bodies, the sisters each lure a boy to their death, exacting revenge on the town that murdered them.

The town has become a tourist destination for those twisted enough to want to join the witch hunt to find which teenage girl the long-dead witches inhabit or to discover which boy will be dragged beneath the surface of the water and killed. Bo Carter arrives on the shores of Sparrow on the eve of the Swan season unaware of the danger he's in. This year things get complicated when Penny, who can see what others cannot, tries to protect Bo from the sister's siren song.

Guys, this book! I swear to you, this book was so amazing that words are hard to come by to explain how great it was. I've been in a witchy mood lately but this book checked all my boxes. It was atmospheric, it was haunting, it was eerie, and it was lyrically and beautifully written. Think Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic and they had a baby with The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It was THAT good.

This book had me hooked from the first party scene straight through to the last page. The setting was so vibrant, so hauntingly isolated, and I could picture it so clearly in my head. The entire town was steeped in legend, in eerie traditions, and magic and I am low key contemplating a move to somewhere like it. It really came to alive on the page for me.

Penny, our main character, is a fantastic narrator. She's different, an outsider while still being a native, and she's navigating friendship, social anxiety, and a new budding relationship in a way that is way too relatable...minus the witch hauntings and boys being drowned, of course. And Bo, my beautiful Bo, is just...everything. He's a complex character who ends up breaking my heart so many times in this book.

I've heard some people say they couldn't get behind the instalove, but I was shipping them from the second they said hello to one another. I was team Bo/Penny from GO and can we just talk about the spark and the passion between these two? Legit one of my new fave kissing scenes resides in this book and just...wow. Their romance, their connection is everything. I 100% had no problem with the way this relationship played out. In a setting like this, in the situation they were in, I think them clinging to one another makes perfect sense.

Legit 10/10 would recommend for anyone who loves atmospheric books, witchy tales, swoon worth kisses, or beautiful quote worthy writing. I had a LOT of annotating, tabbing, and personalizing this book with my thoughts. It now holds a forever place in my heart and on my favorites shelf.

Warning: One thing I do want to note is that due to the nature of the witch's curse they do inhabit young girls and use their bodies for a month and so sometimes things are done in their bodies without their knowledge and therefore consent. It clearly didn't stop me from loving the book but I wanted to note that in the review in the ost non-spoiler way possible.

**Also, Netflix has won the bidding war to make a show/series/movie out of this and I CANNOT wait to see how it turns out. I have high hopes!**

I buddy read this on Twitter using the hashtag #brWickedDeep if you want to look up the hashtag and see what others had to say. I also chatted with the following ladies in a group DM on Twitter while reading.

Melanie at Meltotheany, Lilly at Lair of Books, Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer , Paloma, Jules at JA Ironside!
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
May 4, 2018
Melancholic, eerie and deeply atmospheric!

Sparrow, Oregon.
The Lady Astor arrives in the gloomy town of Sparrow, carrying the Swan sisters. Exotic, elegant and sensual, Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel Swan rattle the foundations of the close-knit society with their numerous dalliances and scandalous affairs with men that are not available. Whispers about potions and hexes become cries and screams, and the town of Sparrow finds them guilty of witchcraft in a desperate attempt to defend all those innocent citizens the amoral sisters seduced. And so, on summer solstice, they drown them.
“We wait for death. We hold our breath. We know it's coming, and still we flinch when it claws at our throats and pulls us under.”

Sparrow, Oregon.
Present Day.
In the small town of two thousand and twenty four inhabitans, nothing interesting happens. Well, almost nothing; on the first day of June comes the singing, signaling the beginning of the Swan Season. Each year the three wrongfully murdered sisters claim the bodies of three girls, taking control of them. Then the drownings begin. And so does the distrust, and the witch hunt. It's on the eve of the Swan Season that Penny Talbot meets Bo, a strange boy with ghosts in his eyes. Together, they try to stop the Swan sisters before the town mourns once more the loss of young life. But Bo and Penny are tethered to the haunting of the Swan sisters in fundamental ways, and stopping the killings might have fatal consequences to them both.

I read The Wicked Deep one of those days.
The days in need for a forgetful cake to wipe away the sour taste of disappointment and discomfort from my mouth. Using a note reminding me to take delivery of a certificate from the Court of First Instance as a bookmark, a turmoil of unpleasant thoughts and emotions raging inside me, I dived into its wicked, deep waters, I tasted the salt of the sea, I stood in the rain while waterdrops cascaded my face and soaked my clothes, I felt the chill piercing my skin, reaching to the marrow. And I smiled. Its haunted pages reflected my dark mood, and I relished all those moments laden in mystery, danger and heartache.
The Wicked Deep was the answer to my silent pleas.
“Love is an enchantress—devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.”

Shea Ernshaw is also an enchantress. While her debut was spooky, it had a fairytalish vibe I found deeply endearing, like coming home after a long day. Her writing had a nostalgic spark of magic that illuminated everything in blue and grey shades, depicting the emotional state and the secrets of her heroes. Sharing tidbits of the past during the unfolding of the current events, she eventually shed light on the tragedy that took place all those years ago in a cursed town that paid the price of the cruelty and ignorance of its inhabitants. It was not a happy story. It was soaked in revenge, fear, and something more. The desperate need to belong, and shape a future of your own. Penny and Bo were two equally tormented characters that managed to speak to me. Their connection was depicted in a sweet, heart-warming manner that was a ray of sunlight in this bleak and dreary town.
“I once read a poem about love being fragile, as thin as glass and easily broken. But that is not the kind of love that survives in a place like this. It must be hardy and enduring. It must have grit.”

The reason I didn't give the fifth star to a novel I devoured is rather complicated. I figured out the plot twist pretty soon, and, while it was brilliant, a part of me wishes it would never happen, because it messed up my feelings, and left me with a bitter taste after I finished it. But, like I said before, this story wasn't meant to be happy. It was a peculiar mix of water and sun, warmth and cold, and I can't help but admit that the ending was oddly fitting.

The truth remains that The Wicked Deep is a splendid debut I highly recommend!

Review also posted on BookNest!
April 29, 2018

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Do not be fooled by the quotes people are using in their reviews for this book. Those quotes will make you think that you are going to get a dark and twisted and impactful story about magic and revenge. I think this book wanted to be about those things, but what THE WICKED DEEP actually ended up being was on par with what you'd get if you'd asked Stephenie Meyer to rewrite The Craft.

The Swan sisters (see, TWILIGHT) were three beautiful, scandalous girls who ended up being murdered as Witches in Sparrow, Oregon because the townspeople got tired of their BS. Now, Sparrow has become a West Coast Salem, MA, with tourists flocking to the small island every summer for a chance to see the mysterious drownings that occur once every year. Because, as local legend has it, the Swan sisters never truly died, and are taking their revenge by possessing the bodies of young girls and seducing young men into the sea to die.

Penny Talbot is our insipid main character and yes, before you ask, she's one of those plain, clumsy girls who doesn't know she's beautiful. She's also a judgmental little you-know-what who's jaded beyond her years and has something to say about pretty much everyone. Her love interest is a drifter-like dude named Bo who won't disclose why he's come to Sparrow, or where he came from before, and his current life goals include having a part-time job in a tourist trap and sleeping on the beach.

Obviously, it's meant to be!

Sinister, Scooby Doo-like sh*t starts to happen, and the touristy shenanigans reach a fever pitch as teenagers do what teenagers have done since the dawn of time according to Hollywood and YA authors: use any event of the slightest bit of significance as an excuse to have wild parties and drink a metric farkton of alcohol. When/if the Swan sisters come back, these teens will be ripe for slaughter.

Annnnnd... I guess that leaves only trusty old Penny to save them.

Sorry teens, it was nice knowing you.

I received an ARC of this book and initially had no intention of finishing it because I looked at the reviews and compared them to the blurb and realized that rather than being the Gothic mind-flip I was expecting, it was going to be closer to something that Sarah Addison Allen would write, only with the insta-love-laden melodrama of ASHES ON THE WAVES. But this kept showing up in my feed, over and over, and everyone was like, OMG, it's so good, and I thought, "Well, they were wrong about CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, but they were right about THE BELLES, so maybe..."

Nope. There really isn't much to make this book stand out, apart from the decent writing. For 70% of the book, the story is as slow as sap sliding down a tree trunk on a cold day. In the last 30% there's finally some action, but by this point, the "sympathetic" main character has revealed herself to be an utter twit (only replace that "I" with an "A" to get the gist of my true sentiments), so I no longer cared what happened to her or if she even got a happy ending, because she had officially made my sh*t list.

Oh, and that ending - that ending was TERRIBLE and brushed aside a pretty serious issue that I felt should have been handled much better than it was. I can't say anything else about that because it's a huge spoiler, but I'll say that it involves consent and sex and yeah, what the actual hell, book.

Not sure why everyone is giving this positive buzz. I thought it was incredibly lame. I'd rather watch The Craft.

P.S. I predicted the "twist" by the end of the first chapter.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy

1.5 stars
Profile Image for Bren fall in love with the sea..
1,574 reviews271 followers
February 7, 2022
“Love is an enchantress—devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.”
― Shea Ernshaw, The Wicked Deep


The Wicked Deep has made it into my list of all time favorites. This is a book that is beguiling and eerie and just as haunting as its title and cover.

And Before I say anything else..the cover art for this book is exquisite. The Wicked Deep, which I finished a short time ago, was quite a read. It left me a bit in awe of this writer's talent as well as shaken up at the pure beauty of the writing.

This is what they mean when they say "poetry of words". The writing here is..well I do not even know how to describe it. It enamored me much as the Swan sisters enamored the men of Sparrow I suppose.

It is hard for me to label this book. It does not fit a certain genre. There is Mystery and folklore and History and supernatural and romance and Sirens and the sea. But at the end of the way, it is just a beautifully written deeply evocative book that you just get lost in.

So for a little backstory: Sparrow is an island in Oregon. An island that lives with a terrible torment.

In the year of 1822, the people of Sparrow murdered three of its residents. They were the beguiling Swan sisters, newcomers to the island. Beautiful, free spirited and happy, they enchanted everyone they met. Men adored them, women looked at them with suspicion. Until one day, they were branded as witches and drowned in the sea.

From that moment, a curse upon the town was started. The sisters would come back for several weeks every year starting in 1823. They would come back and for a short time become human again by each sister stealing a human body of one of the young girls of Sparrow temporarily.

Then they would each lure a young man of Sparrow out to open sea with them ,where he would drown. This is the revenge the sisters extract for their fate so many years before and this is what the town, bathed in sorrow and tragedy has come to accept.

Until two young people, Penny and Bo, decide to change things.

I loved this book. And I really do not want to say anything else even with spoilers. Sometimes, when recommending a book, I'll say "for mystery lovers" or for "Historical fiction lovers" but in this case I think this book is for people who love reading fiction where the sea is Omnipresent and becomes a character in the book.

I am not going to talk much about the end even with spoilers. While I did not love everything in the book..it deserves five stars for all the reasons mentioned plus it was so good I read it in couple of hours. This is one that is beguiling(that word again..but it fits so well), as well as deeply satisfying and moving and a novel that I could not put down.

Read it yourself and be prepared to be swept into the world of Sparrow Oregon. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
476 reviews245 followers
October 31, 2018
“This is how they do it—how the sisters are freed from their brackish grave. They steal three bodies and make them their own. And this season, they do it swiftly.”

3.5/5 ★

I was in a mood for a book that had witches and a good plot and this book was exactly it.
The story was so original!

It starts a bit slow but after the first 4 chapter the story begins and awesome things starts to happen.

For me the best part of the book was the writing, I’m in love with it.
“Love is an enchantress—devious and wild.
It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.”
=>love this quote!!!

The plot was really well done, I didn’t saw it coming.

I liked the romance, how it wasn't just focused on it, and how it complemented the story.
“This boy who glances at me from the corner of his eye, who feels both familiar and new all at the same time.”

I like how cold the witches are.

OKAY, the ending was a bit of a disappointment for me.

Overall it had what I was expecting it, cool, fast, interesting, original and in someways funny read. Although it could have been better.
Profile Image for Samantha.
416 reviews16.7k followers
October 8, 2018
3.5 stars! You want a nice Halloween books that’s not too spooky and reminiscent of Hocus Pocus? This is your jam.
Profile Image for Alana.
662 reviews1,268 followers
April 14, 2018
“Love is an enchantress—devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.”

This book was SO much fun.

First of all, you need to understand if you say the word witches I am sold. No questions asked, I want the book. Now, add three sisters accused of witchcraft who come back for revenge *ahem, Hocus Pocus vibes anyone?* and I am so sold there is no possible way I could dislike this book. Yet somehow, I still managed to be blown away by this. Although technically the Swan sisters were not witches, only accused of being witches, the magic and the reasons behind it were so freaking good. I still can’t get over it. I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I fell in love with this story and the characters.

The writing in this one was GORGEOUS. I would find myself constantly just re-reading scenes in the book because of how beautiful the prose was. Not to mention how wonderful the mystery and legend of the Swan Sisters was woven into the story. It felt completely unique and original which is like a breath of fresh air since I predominately read YA books and they can all kind of mesh into one another. I have a feeling this book is going to stand out from all the other books I’ve read this year for a LONG TIME.

Now I will admit that I did figure out the big “plot twist” of the story way before it was revealed , however, it did not ruin the story for me in any way. While it was the main plot twist of the story there was still so much behind it that I never would have guessed which made it even better, if that’s even possible and left me will ALL THE FEELS.

The romance aspect to this story was again woven perfectly into it and had me pining after Bo and Penny. Originally, I will admit, I was not a fan of insta-love between Bo and Penny BUT after finishing this and finding out the reason for the insta-love I totally took it back and realized it was a vital part to the story. Also, there is another love story besides Bo and Penny’s and I am LIVING for it. No spoilers though 😉

Plus, the ending of this book! Oh my god. I can’t stop thinking about it. Again, SO MANY FEELS.

All in all, I want to keep this short because I don’t want to give away too much of anything. If you love witches, mystery, legends, epic love stories, and creepy little towns than look no further than The Wicked Deep.

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Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 1 book598 followers
April 5, 2021
I never thought I would love this book that much!❤️

I can still feel the salty air of the coastal town of Sparrow on my skin and imagine swimming in the cold ocean by night.🌊 I loved this atmospheric story, its eerie setting and the spooky legend of the three sisters sentenced to death two centuries ago.

Witches, curse, disappearance, ghosts, possession and revenge... If these words appeal to you, read this book! You're even gonna get a great twist (I saw it coming, but it was still terrific!). Without a doubt, this book intrigued me and captivated me from the start.

4.5 rounded up
Profile Image for Ali Goodwin.
141 reviews11.8k followers
March 28, 2022
4.5 Stars!! Really really loved this book! The world building of the eerie little town of Sparrow was so good! I also loveddd the romance plot line. And there was a plot twist towards the end that REALLY shocked me. Overall this is a spooky, eerie, magical book about a cursed town and 3 sisters presumed to be witches. Not something I would normally read but I'm SO glad I did :)
Profile Image for Grace (BURTSBOOKS).
153 reviews355 followers
January 29, 2019
I received this Arc from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

This read like a wicked sort of fairy tale - beautifully gruesome and so atmospheric it's almost like you're there in the small island town. I was changing my mind about this up until the very end because every time I was sure about something there would be another reveal that changed everything - totally unique.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews892 followers
March 19, 2019
The love story was a bit too much and happened too fast but other than that I really enjoyed this book. The story itself is quite unique and especially the atmosphere was on point!
There were a few too many metaphors for my taste. Those made this whole thing feel a bit pretentious at times but that's just something I personally don't like.

The twist was kind of obvious but that didn't bug me that much. It was still really interesting and the plot didn't feel any less intriguing because of that.

(Potential spoiler ahead)

I'm torn about the ending though. I technically loved it but especially the last few sentences felt wrong to me. I can't really explain why but it just made me feel bad for Penny. It didn't feel fair.
December 23, 2018

Magic is not always formed from words,
from cauldrons being spiced
or black cats strolling down dark alleys.
Some curses are manifested from desire or injustice.

Story 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Many years ago three girls lived in Sparrow. They were beautiful, enchanting and were making the men of Sparrow go crazy.
Their names were Aurora, Marguerite and Hazel Swan.
The people of Sparrow believed the three girls to be witches - so they drowned them in the sea.
Every year from this day on the swan sisters returned to the island - to occupy the body of a girl their age and make a boy fall in love with them - only to be drowned in the dark ocean.
But this year something is different.
Penny - whose father disappeared one day and never came back - finds a stranger in Sparrow who asks for work.
But strangers are not welcome here.
But something is different about him.
He is different. Stronger.
And he wants to stay.
So she gives him work, a place to stay.
Maybe he’ll survive it.
Maybe they’re all going to survive this year without drowning boys and singing sisters.
Maybe. Maybe not.

My friend Mary told me about this beautiful, magical story that felt like a fairytale with love and a fascinating atmosphere in it.
And what can I say? She was totally right.
I loved this book from the start. The writing was so beautiful and the characters were perfectly picked for this story.
This is now one of my favorite standalone ever. ♥️

Character 🌟🌟🌟🌟
First of all - the swan sisters - evil “witches” who lure boys into the deep ocean so they finally can have revenge for their own deaths.
They were my favorite.
I have a special place inside my heart for villains/witches/bad people. It’s probably pretty dark inside this part, but who cares.
They were interesting with their own personalities and past. They were really greatly written “villains” of the story, because in some way you felt sorry for them - for being accused of being evil witches and being drowned by people who needed an excuse for their illoyal husbands.
Then there was our handsome stranger with green eyes - Bo.
In the beginning he’s a total mystery - with his secrets, past and thoughts. But then he revealed bits of himself and you totally fall in love with him.
He’s a quiet one, but he has a loyal big heart.
Penny - our main character - was a little bit strange in the beginning, but in the end I loved all of them.
I think the author did a great job of creating this characters that fit perfectly into this story and add some mysterious vibes to the atmosphere.

Relationships 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I once read a poem about love being fragile, as thin as glass and easily broken.
But that is not the kind of love that survives in a place like this.

Oh, we all know what was going to happen between Bo and Penny. But who cares?
It was so freakin sweet and magical and ugh.
I loved it.
I didn’t think it was rushed. It’s teenage love, you guys, that’s what’s happening if there are a evil witches and drowning people around you.
Also it was so tragic, dramatic and I’m a sucker for sacrifice.
I loved it soooooo much.

Writing style 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The writing was so magical, beautiful and I couldn’t stop reading. I was sucked into another world, a darker fascinating world with curses, a deep frightening ocean and evil witches and townspeople in it.
It was written in Pennys POV and every few chapters there were parts of the past - the past were the swan sisters lived and died.
I can definitely recommend this book for people that need a break from the outside world and need some time in a dark story with a luring world. ✨

And it has tilted my universe off center,
the frayed edges of my life starting to unravel.
Loving someone is dangerous.
It gives you something to lose.


Because my girl Mary was completely in love with this book.

Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,072 followers
September 12, 2020
Dark, delectable and atmospheric.

“We wait for death. We hold our breath. We know it’s coming, and still we flinch when it claws at our throats and pulls us under.”

Penny lives in the town of Sparrow, Oregon, a town that has been under a curse for the last 200 years.

3 teenage girls were drowned for the crime of witchcraft. Since then the 3 sisters return every summer to claim the lives of teenage boys as revenge for the way the town treated them. They inhabit the bodies of local girls on the first day of the Swan Season and over the next few weeks the bodies of boys will be found drowned and washed up on the shore.

When Penny meets Bo, a mysterious traveller who seems to never have heard of the Swan sisters and everything weird that happens in Sparrow she gives him a job and invites him to live in the cottage on the island she lives with her mother. Her mother has lost her mind ever since Penny’s father disappeared.

As bodies begin to appear and everyone is determined to work out which girls have been taken over by the swan sisters and to stop them the island becomes a very dangerous place.

This was a wonderful read full of dark magic and secrets. Once again I found the insta love too much but that’s just me and YA.

Highly recommend.

“Because they don’t inhabit bodies just to be alive again; they do it for revenge.” “Revenge on who?” “The town.”
Profile Image for Victoria Resco.
Author 6 books24.4k followers
July 12, 2021
Es que yo no comprendo como es que me aburrió tanto la mayor parte del libro y el final me desgarró el corazón.

No fue una historia que me re haya volado el bocho pero sí tengo que reconocerle eso a la autora: tiene la capacidad de escribir unos finales que te hacen mierda de lo hermosos y poéticos que son. Es la segunda vez que un libro de ella me deja deshecha en lágrimas.

Creo que el gran motivo por el que no me encantó fue haber leído antes "El bosque de las cosas perdidas", que es del mismo género y tiene un formato muy parecido pero un una historia mucho más intrincada y con mejores personajes. Sentí que en "La maldición del mar" estaba leyendo otro intento de eso pero no le llegó a los talones.

Es por todo lo anterior que me veo obligada a decir que definitivamente me encantaría ver a la autora explorar otros géneros porque su estilo de escritura me parece que realmente tiene mucho que dar.
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
336 reviews266 followers
December 14, 2019
*fidgets awkwardly* Sooooo....yeah that happened. I fell completely in love with Winterwood it was just so atmospheric and wintry and a perfect winter read. So I immediately ran out to my library to snatch The Wicked Deep off the shelf with the highest of hopes.

But I was instantly let down.

There are quite a few similarities between The Wicked Deep and Winterwood. They both have forest-green green eyed boys. And the author’s got a strange-boy-you’ve-just-met-sleep-over complex. In both books the main female character meets a stranger, a boy, and somehow he ends up sleeping at her house like that night, and soon after they’re sleeping in the same bed like little stray kittens snuggled up together in a barn like it’s nothing. And insta-love ensues.

Okay. But this all worked for me in Winterwood due to the extreme circumstances and loneliness and abandonment. But seeing the same trope here, again....it wasn’t situationally warranted, in my opinion *shrugs*

Also....*long sigh*...the concept was so cool. But. But really what town would just shrug and say “Oh, well. There’s nothing we can do. We deserve it.” when every year several innocent boys WILL BE DROWNED and no one does anything to stop it? Instead they throw a bonfire down on the beach like wonder who’s gonna die tonight? Har har har

*stares at the wall*

I just could not. Nope. I guess I read a different book from everyone else hahahaha
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,290 reviews341 followers
November 16, 2017
About: The Wicked Deep is a young adult fantasy written by Shea Ernshaw. It will be published on 3/6/18 by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 320 pages. The genres are young adult, fantasy, paranormal, witches, and fiction. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up.

My Experience: I started reading The Wicked Deep on 11/10/17 and finished it on 11/15/17. This book has a fantastic love story! I like the mystery to the legend. I like the cover and the art at each chapter. I like the unexpected twist. I like having a glimpse into all the characters involved, past and present. I like how the title is weaved into the story. I like that I couldn’t guess the surprise twist even though I was waiting for it.

This book is told in the first person point of view, following Penny Talbot, 17 who lives on Lumiere Island and goes to Sparrow High School. Sparrow, Oregon has been ravaged by the legend of the Swan sisters (Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel) where every year starting June 1st, three of the local girls are possessed by the three Swan sisters to lure young men to their deaths in the nearby harbor. Legend says that two centuries ago, the Swan sisters were thought to be witches and they were condemned to death. After that, they come back every year to haunt the locals and take their revenge. No one ever witnessed how the Swan sisters caused the boys’ deaths so their deaths are ruled as drowning or suicides. This book is also told in the third person point of view following the Swan sisters, from their arrival to the town to how they become a legend. From early on, readers will know that Penny and her mom experience grief due to her father’s disappearance. When Bo, an outsider like Penny’s father came to town looking to stay, Penny offers to give him a job. Both are hesitant to share their secrets when it becomes obvious they each have something to hide.

This book is very well written. I like the start at once. Legends and curses definitely caught my attention. I couldn’t wait to unravel the mystery. The story is beautifully crafted and all the characters are well liked and well developed, especially the Swan sisters. Lumiere Island and Sparrow don’t sound like an ideal place to live because of it’s constant rain, but it’s a great setting for this book. The romance speeds too quickly for my liking with Penny and her friend Rose. One moment they just met the guys and the next it’s love. Even so, I enjoy the love story greatly and I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

Pro: cover, legend, mystery, fast paced, page turner, easy to read,

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Shea Ernshaw, publisher Simon Pulse, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more reviews
October 9, 2022
Wickedly Witchy!

I enjoyed this book. It did sort of remind me of Hocus Pocus (which I love), but for a much more mature audience. The focus on three witches put to death over two hundred years ago and returning due to a curse is the common theme between the two, but this book differs from there with actual deaths, plot twists and a few unexpected surprises.

Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
June 30, 2017
3.5 stars. This was quite a fun book and I'm always up for a witchy tale. But parts of it really annoyed me (like the insta love). Still, I definitely think it's worth the read. It's quite atmospheric and I enjoyed the writing style a lot. There were a few twists I didn't see coming which kept me wanting to read to the end.
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,239 reviews295 followers
August 5, 2019
Translation widget on The blog!!!
Un roman fascinant! Plin de suspans și învăluit în mister. Un young- adult combinat cu fantasy. O poveste care implică trei vrăjitoare, fantome, crime și răzbunări; dar și o poveste de dragoste absolut superbă.
Mi-au plăcut mult personajele și felul cum ne-au fost prezentate. Acțiunea cărții este atât de fluidă încât nu îți dai seama când termini povestea.
Recenzia mea completa o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,153 reviews1,513 followers
December 4, 2017
Two centuries ago in the small town of Sparrow three sisters were accused of being witches and put to death. The residents of the town tied stones to their ankles and drowned them in the deep waters that surrounded the town. Each years since their deaths the sisters have returned to the small town for a period of a couple of weeks to seek their revenge upon the town by inhabiting the bodies of local young women to tempt the young men of the town to their own death.

Seventeen year old Penny Talbot lives in the small town of Sparrow and like many of the local residents she has come to accept the fate of her town every summer while tourists flock the town to see the legend of the sisters carried out. This year however Penny meets Bo Carter who has stumbled into the town the night before the sisters are due to arrive and after hiring Bo to help work the lighthouse her family runs Penny finds herself wanting to do anything she can to keep Bo from the danger that summer.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is a young adult fantasy tale featuring witches, curses and a bit of romance added into the mix. A few warnings will come with this review even though I quite enjoyed this one myself. First, for those that hate the old insta-love trope in young adult this one might not be for you as yes the characters move into the love phase fairly quickly. Also, there were a few situations in it that may not be best for a very young crowd.

When finished with this one other than a few minor details here or there I rather enjoyed the story overall. This is one that has that creepy vibe with a dark edge involved waiting for the curse to play itself out with a few twists here and there to keep the reader on their toes and the pages turning. It was easy to get to know the characters in the present story while getting bits of the past to learn about the sisters and how they came to curse the town. I'd definitely recommend checking this one out to the young adult fantasy fans.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews321 followers
April 27, 2021
This book had an excellent concept which as soon as i read, intrigued and enthused me, however in execution, this one fell flat for me.
It wasn't bad per say, but its been 2 months since i read The Wicked Deep and i could honestly not tell you any of the characters names or half of what actually happened in the story.
Also has some weird notions when it comes to consent toward the end which made me feel, well.. icky.
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
April 12, 2018
Love is an enchantress-- devious and wild.
It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.

Well goddamn this book took me by surprise. I read and finished this book roughly a week ago. I was so conflicted on how I felt about it, that I couldn't formulate a proper review or even rate it. But now, sitting on these thoughts and how this book made me feel, I don't think I'll ever come to a concrete conclusion.

But boy oh fucking boy.

This book was so slow, deliberate, and heavy as fuck. Literally suffocating....but in a good way. The atmosphere in this book was so, so real. Very. It felt so real sometimes, that it was kind of unsettling, a bit eerie.

And that's what I LOVED about this book. It grabbed me by the throat and force fed me a spoonful of what can only be called as, 'magic'. It's such a weird feeling and the only thing that comes close to this experience of reading this book would be, The Raven Boys.

And that feeling, that feeling of being drawn to or by, is what I absolutely love about reading. Reading books that come close to what I felt reading, The Wicked Deep, is somewhat a rare and hidden thing. But time comes when it's happening, is unexpectedly such a beautiful and complete experience . It's like drugs, an addiction, but the good kind.

The story itself I think, wasn't even what drew me into the book. I thought it was rather mildly weak and drawn out; nothing much was happening-- a curse that revolves around a town and affecting the people in it-- it was a little disappointing to have something so elaborate to have little repercussions within it. Character wise, everyone was fine, nobody stood out.

But maybe Bo. Just Bo. Conflicting, confusing, and irritating, all at the same fucking time, that bitch. I wanted to punch him. Then hug him. Just......UGGGGHH.

But my biggest complaint with the book is that I called out the twist very very early on in the book. And my predictions were true. And I didn't want it to be true because I DID NOT WANT IT TO GO IN THAT DIRECTION WHY WHY WHY..........ngh fuck.

Well, when good conflicting things come to an end, you just got to move on and say goodbye. But I didn't necessarily want to leave these characters yet. I just wanted to see, wherever they are now, if they're ok.

I hope so.

Fucking feels. I'm so irritated right now anasdasdlafhasdkfjfs f

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Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books350 followers
March 20, 2022
First off, this has a GORGEOUS cover. I love the legend and mystery of it. Penny has grown up in a remote coastal town, which has a population of barely anyone, except during tourist season, when people come to see if the ghosts of the Swan sisters, three sisters drowned in the harbor 200 years ago, will resurface. The problem is, every year when they possess the bodies of local girls and lead teenage boys into the harbor, people drown.

This is one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve read this year. The author has a great sense of pacing, and this story unfolds in wonderfully rich layers. Every little turn and development as we watch the mystery unfold of who the Swan sisters will possess this year, and what they want. I won’t say too much more because I don’t want to reveal spoilers, but this was SO well written. A delightful romance, as well. If you like paranormal, a must-read.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
291 reviews350 followers
April 15, 2018

I can't believe I read this whole thing in one afternoon!
This is the first time in a long time that I've read a whole book in a day and it feels amazing!

I honestly enjoyed this more than I thought I was going to

It was so interesting, imaginative, enchanting, atmospheric and spooky and I was hooked from the start. It was so addictive to read, and I just didn't want to do anything else until I'd finished it

It was such a marvellous book, and I think it might be going on a list of my favourite standalone fantasy/paranormal books
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