Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Witches, Secrets and Lies, Issues of Consent
Blurb from Goodreads
Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge – and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, 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 from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.
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 or the fact that his arrival will change everything…
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.
This book has offended me on so many levels.
Bland to the extreme.
And talk about insipid characters! Did did the author actually forget to give anyone a uniquely identifying personality because she was so obsessed with creating this mysterious spooky atmosphere??
Well the atmosphere was utterly bland too. I’m sorry, but where was the tension????
The plot was utterly predictable, practically signposted to each plot development.
Also it was casually offensive.
First up was the let’s just insinuate that all Irish people are ugly… Gee thanks for that one.
“Mrs. Alba is Spanish, but Rose’s father is true-blooded Irish, born in Dublin, and Rose managed to get all her father’s features, much to her displeasure.”
See… If you’re going to rag about getting daddy’s looks don’t only describe him by his nationality. That just basically means you’re calling true-blooded Irish people born in Dublin less than attractive. Just say he’s got a wonky nose or whatever, keep it generic and then it’s not an affront to an entire nation.
Next offences come with a big fat spoiler warning!!
Do not read ahead if you do not want to be spoiled.
Penny’s mother was an eye roll worthy LOL. Like honestly… Can we stop with the emotionally absent parents in YA and the single woman unable to cope alone trope.
And then there’s this old elephant in the room… Consent.
So pseudo-Penny and Bo had sex…
Gee that’s nice for Penny isn’t it. That her body was so casually violated while she was not actually in control of it and thusly unable to give her consent!
Honestly! Can we not do this please??? Can we not portray that as freaking romantic????
Can we not have it that the real Penny is some sort of runner up prize for Bo??? Absolutely tasteless.
Look it was all nicely bland.
Easy to read.
Required zero brain power.
But the plot was boringly vanilla and the characters were all flat and dull. I could have imagined hearing this story around the campfire as a little kid and maybe been spooked and/or slightly melancholic regarding the lives of the Swan sisters so for me this would have worked better as a middle grade with the appropriate censoring and removal of those ill thought out offensive occurrences which really triggered me, and have made me really angry and ill at ease since I completed the book.