Marzie's Reviews > The Wicked Deep

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc-paper, arc-edelweiss

4.5 Stars but listing as 5 because of a bump for a polished debut.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading Zoe Gilbert's fabulous debut, Folk about the magic in a small insular community on an isolated island. Shea Ernshaw's Wicked Deep is similarly luminous in its story of a community steeped in history, magic, superstition, fear, and sadly, revenge.

Sparrow is a tiny town (population under 2500) on the Oregon coast. Every year they have a flood of tourists between the first of June and the summer solstice, a period the town calls Swan Season, commemorating the deaths of the three Swan sisters, Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel in the 1820's. The sisters were murdered after a suspicious group of townsfolk decided that these beautiful girls who arrived in their town to set up a perfumery business were witches. They shamelessly lured the town's menfolk, young, married or single, into adulterous relationships, Marguerite boasted of hexing people because of the absurdity of their claims. Eventually, on the summer solstice in 1823, the three sisters were bound and dragged offshore, had rocks tied to their feet and were dumped into the ocean to drown. But the water has magic, as Ernshaw reminds us in a lovely quote from Loren Eisley. Each season the girls return to Sparrow, possessing the body of a local girl and luring some of the young men in Sparrow, whether tourists or locals, to their deaths by drowning, as retribution for their murders.

We see the events of Swan Season through the eyes of Penny Talbot, a local who lives offshore on the tiny Lumiere Island, where a lighthouse lights the passage for local fisherman. Penny lives with her depressed mother and her father went missing three years back. In June. Penny dreads Swan Season but in this year she dreads it even more because of a newcomer to Sparrow, Bo, who ill fatedly shows up just at the start of Swan Season. Both Penny and Bo have their own secrets tied to Sparrow's history. The twists and turns of this story are masterfully done.

This is an impressive debut novel. It was a mesmerizing read that I couldn't put down. Ernshaw deftly manages to meld magical realism with mystery and light horror in this novel. A wonderful YA fantasy debut! I'm looking forward to reading more from Shea Ernshaw.
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Reading Progress

February 27, 2018 – Shelved
February 27, 2018 – Shelved as: arc-paper
February 27, 2018 – Shelved as: arc-edelweiss
March 4, 2018 – Started Reading
March 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

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