The Wicked Deep
(I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This has had no impact on my review. I also happened to have purchased this book and have it sitting on my own bookshelf.)
(Synopsis from Goodreads)
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 read 62% of this pretty quickly right before the book was to be released, since I had the e-arc of it from Edelweiss. I sat on that 62% for MONTHS (February to May). I had issues going the rest of the way with this book, but I knew I wanted to finish it because I recognized that I got the darn thing for review and I should review it. The premise of the story is that these 3 sisters return every summer and kill males due to having been drowned as witches. The issue is that the book isn’t a bad book (you did see that I purchased it right?). The issue is more that while it is pegged to be about these three sisters, it felt to be too focused on this build-up of a romance between the main character, Penny Talbot, and the young male that comes into town, Bo Carter. The primary focus on this relationship really made the overall book take a hit, for me.
The best part of the book? There are parts of the book between chapters that are town from the point of view of the sisters, primarily set in their own past. These parts were what kept me reading. I wanted to see what bits we would get. Learning more about the sisters was my drive! I wanted to know what got them to be drowned in the first darn place. So Ernshaw at least got me to want to know what happened to these women, which I think is important to note. I found the last 38% of “The Wicked Deep” to be a lot less “slow” and “monotone” than the 62% I read in February. This is partially because we get the twists and revelations that come with any book. I guessed one of the twists pretty much from the introduction of how the sisters do their dastardly deeds, but I will say the overall execution was better than I thought it would be. I think the execution was better because it linked back to the backstories in a way, so it linked up with the main part that I had already been enjoying within it.
Without giving it away, I wanted to touch briefly upon the ending of this book. Moments before it, I was excited because I thought we were getting a very different ending when characters appeared at the top of the lighthouse on the island. It didn’t go that way. The ending that we ended up with: It felt cheap. There felt like there was nothing within the story that led us to the conclusion that ultimately happens. It would have been better to have the main characters discuss it in some way or to find hints of it somewhere throughout the story and then have it all come together in a massive climax that would have shook the soul, but it didn’t happen that way. The ending left a bit to be desired. Then there are some “winding down” moments that I literally rolled my eyes during. I am not kidding either, I rolled them so hard that I thought I might accidently slip into a coma, especially the scene that would be considered the “Closing Scene” or the “scene that fades to black.” It was so mushy in a way that I did not appreciate. I just did not find that part of the story to be enjoyable.
It may sound like I am being very negative about the book, but I want you to know that I got through the book because Ernshaw had an interesting premise. This premise drove me forward and I enjoyed it. It simply isn’t a phenomenal read, but an enjoyable one. Not every single read of our lives is going to be so good that we want to sing its praises from the mountains. Some have to be enjoyable, but nothing to write home about. This was that for me. I would recommend it to friends, however, which means I found it to be a good read and one that others would find enjoyable as well.
Want a similar story about three witchy sisters? If you have never seen “Hocus Pocus” by Disney, you should give it a watch. It is a bit more “kid-friendly” than “The Wicked Deep” as well.