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Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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The Wicked Deep // VBC ReviewThe Wicked Deep
Shea Ernshaw
Published: March 6, 2018 (Simon Pulse)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

17-year-old Penny has never really fit in. She’s not part of the “cool” crowd, and she lives with her mother on an island just off the town of Sparrow. Her mother used to read tea leaves for the town–now she just mourns the loss of her husband in mysterious circumstances, while Penny longs for the day she can leave the town…while half believing she never really will. In the midst of all of this comes the yearly tradition—when the spirits of three sisters, drowned by the townspeople centuries ago, return to take revenge. Three sisters, three drownings…most of the time. As the summer hauntings begin, a stranger comes to town, a teenage boy named Bo. Penny finally feels like she’s important to someone…but what will she have to sacrifice to keep him safe?

Part mystery, part supernatural romance, The Wicked Deep explores what it’s like to be the outcast in a small town where everyone thinks they know everyone else’s business. The town itself is written like any small, seaside town…nothing special except for the tourists that flock through every summer. Here, those tourists come for a rather macabre festival—and to see if there will be any drownings. There is nothing special about this town other than the yearly haunting, and that is on par with most small towns on any coast. Kids grow up and move away as quickly as possible, or they stay forever and can’t imagine ever doing anything else.

The fact that so many tourists would attend such a festival seemed a little off-putting to me…I mean, maybe they would, but when it’s proven that people actually die every year? I’m just not so sure. Penny and Bo were the most fleshed-out characters in the book, closely followed by the spirits themselves. However, none of the characters really drew me in and made me feel…anything. I wasn’t particularly angry at things, or upset by others…there just wasn’t enough to capture my heart over most any of it.

The story itself was interesting, but unfortunately I saw the plot twist coming. It felt like a bit of a letdown when I was right, but it’s not hard to see it. Trust me—I’m the WORST at solving mysteries. Having said that, the tale was a quick read and interesting enough that I kept going. The end was a bit more fascinating to me, simply because we finally get more of the backstory of the spirits. I would classify this as a fun, light beach read—brain candy. Not really much thinking necessary, and it’s a quick, smooth story.

Overall, it’s worth reading if the idea of spirits taking revenge every year is intriguing to you, or you enjoy the idea of the Salem Witch Trials, as this is similar. I enjoyed it, even though I wished for a bit more substance along the way. Then again, isn’t that often the case when we enjoy some candy? But that doesn’t mean we didn’t like the sweetness along the way.

Sexual content: none

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