A Breathtaking Read | Review of ‘The Wicked Deep’

By Cynthia Ayala

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Simon Pulse
Image Credit: Goodreads

“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. However, 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. Moreover, death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. However, only Penny sees what others cannot. Moreover, she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.” —Goodreads

Published March 6, 2018, by Simon Pulse The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is her riveting debut novel that brings to life an incredible young adult paranormal tale set in a small tourist town haunted by the sins of their past.

An incredible and riveting read. The Wicked Deep is such an unexpected story that is sure to leave the reader breathless. The reason that the story is so breathless is the fact that the story flows so effortlessly. It goes from the present to the past to bring the story and the history of the place to life. Moreover, that is what makes the story incredible. It creates this premise that this small town is forever haunted by its sins of the past, both figuratively and literally, making it a beautiful read. There is so much emotion in the novel as it builds character and history while also keeping the language subtle while it weaves plot twists and turns. Moreover, they are incredible twists and turns that spin the novel into what it is.

It is so compelling to see how the novel moves from moment to moment, building the past up while it also builds up the premise of the past, letting the reader get to know who the Swan sisters were, what their crimes were, and how they met their untimely and unjustified demise. There’s no clear answer as to how they became these malevolent spirits, but that is such an inconsequential aspect of the story because of their pain. The suffrage and punishment for being untraditional women weave a spell on the reader, creating so much sympathy for these villains who drown boys ever summer. Their anger is understandable, the characters are relatable, and their rage and sadness leap off the pages. These are characters the reader can understand, which is essential for drawer the reader in and making sure the reader can connect to the story and the characters. The reader needs to be able to connect to the “villains” to fully grasp the emotional intent of the novel, leading them to be perfectly flawed and very human in their anger and grief, showcasing the incredible talent of Ernshaw.

The same can be said for Penny as well. She is such a quiet character who says very little, yet her thoughts, her mannerisms, the way Ernshaw brings her to life is incredible. Penny is such a believable character because her pain, fears, and personality leap off the pages. Even as a demure character, Penny is perfectly designed in a way that the reader has no problem conjuring her up in their minds. As with the ghosts, the reader can connect with her, and that is incredibly important for this novel.

As for the language and plot, there is no denying how perfectly structured it is. The subtle language the author uses to sneak in plot twists, continuously take the reader by surprise. It is one word here, then another there, that leaves the reader to say “whoa” every single time. It is magnificent writing that has so much emotion between the lines building up the story more than plot or character development, not that either of those is lacking, but the emotion, that is the most impressive part of the novel.

The Wicked Deep is a novel that makes the reader feel things and leaves them breathless. It moves perfectly and utilizes emotion to make the story move is captivating. This novel that will haunt the reader and make their heartache and is sure to weave a spell over the reader much the characters in the novel, but in this case, in a good way. Succumb to the beauty of this novel and pick it up. (★★★★★ | A+)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Mar. 6, 2018

Page count: 320pp

Age Range: 14 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9734-3

Publisher: Simon Pulse

List Price:  $17.99

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