Hi friends! It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve read a book in a single day. This book was really short, but still, I’m pretty proud of myself since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through the last book on my September TBR before the month change. Now I think I’ve got a chance at doing that! Wooooo. Anyways, onto the review.
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is a young adult fantasy standalone that takes place in the small town of Sparrow, Oregon. Two hundred years ago, three young women accused of witchcraft were drowned off the coast of Sparrow. Now, every summer, their spirits return to the town to possess three more teenage girls who lure young men to their watery doom.
This book was a fun, easy read; in fact, it’s the first book in a long time that I’ve finished in less than 24 hours. Despite the fact that the book takes place during the summer months, it gave off a lot of ~fall vibes~ that made me feel nice and cozy this time of year. In fact, I might have rated this a half-star lower had I have read it any other time of year. While the plot wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and had some serious flaws, I really enjoyed the last 100 pages of the book
As I stated above, the atmosphere of The Wicked Deep was my favorite part of the reading experience. The town was well-developed and had a great sense of place, and I really enjoyed the lore and history of Swan season, as well at the environment described on the island. It made me feel like I wanted to cozy up with a blanket and a hot cocoa and read this while rain poured down outside, but alas I live on the west coast and the world is literally on fire, so the latter part of that dream was a reach. Nevertheless, this is a book I could see myself rereading in future falls to help me get into the autumn spirit, which is saying something because I’m not much of a re-reader these days.
I also wasn’t expecting a plot twist in this book, so when the reveal happened I set down the novel for a little bit and just kind of stared off into space. It was incredibly well-executed (and would also make a re-read super interesting with the knowledge I have now). The last hundred or so pages of this book were by far the best and had all of the witchy, siren-song elements I was expecting this book to have. I also enjoyed a lot of Ernshaw’s writing style. It was super easy to consume but also had some great imagery and a couple beautiful lines of prose.
I. Hate. Instalove. It’s one of my least favorite tropes. Normally, it doesn’t ruin a story for me, if the relationship is contained to a side plot or between secondary characters, but given that it was one of the main cruxes of the plot, it really really bothered me. The believability of Penny and Bo’s relationship was severely impacted and because of that I didn’t care about the outcome of any of the conflicts. I just wasn’t as invested as I could have been with a more slow and carefully developed romance. And that was the first 200 pages. Not great.
Also the ending was wretched and I choose to believe that it was resolved differently because it made no sense and I am angry and I can’t even say anything because of spoilers. Just prepare yourself to be disappointed because there’s absolutely no way anyone likes the ending of this book.
Rating & Final Thoughts
Right now, I would rate The Wicked Deep 3 out of 5 stars. That rating would probably be a 2.5 had I initially picked it up any other time of year, but the witchy vibes and dreary, rainy atmosphere really put me in a good fall mood. I haven’t read a lot of books with a siren song kind of premise, which is interesting and unique, but the horrible ending and poorly developed relationships took the wind out of the sails for me on this one. I’d recommend this book for sure if you don’t mind instalove or are looking for a quick read between books.
Buy The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw here.*
*as a reminder, I am an Amazon affiliate and make a small commission off of purchases made using my link.