Book Review: The Wicked Deep

the wicked deep title

The Wicked Deep


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.


At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 3.91 out of 5

Opening Lines.png

Three sisters arrived in Sparrow, Oregon, in 1822 aboard a fur trading ship names the Lady Astor, which sank later that year in the harbor just beyond the cape.

They were among the first to settle in the newly founded coastal town, and they strode onto the new land like thin-legged birds with wavy caramel hair and pastel skin. They were beautiful – too beautiful, the townspeople would later say.


Before I begin I need to say these four things: –

  1. I broke my reading slump. Yay! I had a lazy Sunday morning and read this whole thing in a couple of hours.
  2. I am striking while the iron is hot and writing this review immediately after reading because frankly, I’m getting tired of struggling to remember what to put.
  3. The opening lines refer to the sisters’ hair as caramel and yet throughout the book they are also referred to as having dark hair. Which is it? Caramel or dark?? I have to air this grievance.
  4. I got it wrong – I believe I mentioned that this book contains mermaids because that was my wonky misread. There are no mermaids. However there are possible witches. I enjoy possible witches.

As it goes I liked this book. Was it an amazing, game changer? No. Was it an enjoyable way to pass my Sunday morning and an intriguing enough read to break my slump? Yes. You know it was. I told you.

There are no mermaids in this story like I thought but there is definite ‘siren’ behaviour. Three sisters who were accused of being witches (because they were beautiful and got naughty with other women’s husbands) were drowned and their souls return every year to inhabit the bodies of three teenage girls. They then lure teenage boys to the ocean in order to drown them as retribution to the town and its people.

I liked it. I didn’t love it and here are my reasons why (I’m bullet pointing today, sorry):

  • At times the characters felt a little flat. Not all of them but I felt like I didn’t really get Bo at times as a romantic interest. Yes he has a past and yes he’s cute. What else? Our main character has a best friend called Rose. Yes she’s arty and kind. Yes, what else? I didn’t really feel the strength of those relationships.
  • Penny’s dad has disappeared. He was an outsider. No one cared because he was an outsider. The writer picks this point up a quite a bit and bashes you around the head with it. I get it. Her dad disappeared and he was an outsider and no one cared. I can get familiar with a concept without it being repeated in the same way multiple times. Her dad disappeared and he was an outsider and no one cared. See? It’s annoying.
  • I saw the twist coming at page 20. Maybe we were supposed to. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be realised that soon but the revelation wasn’t that big a ‘whhhhhaaaaaaaaat?!’ moment as it should have been.
  • I appreciate romance and love in the stories I read. I actually love reading romance and I love love (I’m such a romantic sap underneath it all) but then it moved from being an interesting story about a curse upon a town to love, love, love, love and smoochypoos. I like smoochypoos. Give me the smoochypoos but here it began to get on my nerves and turned what was an interesting story into something rather soggy. I don’t want to spoil so I won’t go on my rant-page

With this and The Hazel Wood I’ve been thinking that some of the YA I read is constrained by being YA. I wonder if this is mean-spirited but YA is lucrative and sometimes I think the stories that are being told in YA could breathe a lot more if they were written for an adult audience. That’s not me saying that YA is a bad thing, gosh no, I adore it otherwise I wouldn’t read it so much but sometimes there’s a YA story that I think is boxing its own potential in.

It’s either that or I have a dark little soul that craves more ‘adult’ content and by adult I don’t mean violence or sex, I just mean pushing beyond what some of these YA stories are hovering on the precipice of. I don’t know if I’m explaining myself well enough here.

I am terribly picky and so I always seem to go in with the stuff I didn’t like and that probably leaves you wondering if I even like it when I say I do. But I did like The Wicked Deep, I really did. At times I was worried the author might ‘purple prose’ it up but she reigned it in nicely. So here are my reasons for liking it (sorry, again it’s bullet points):-

  • The writing was very enjoyable and easy to read with some passages that were just delicious. There was a wonderful line that made me have a little shiver:-

quote three

It’s not exactly something I’ll have read out at my wedding but isn’t that just great?! Anyway.

  • The setting was fabulous. My experience of Oregon is zero but I’ve lived in and visited plenty of coastal towns, especially small and quiet towns where tourism is the sole boon, and I honestly got such a strong sense of place. Sparrow as a town felt incredibly real to me from the descriptions of the streets and shops and harbours to the exasperation that locals feel about tourists and outsiders to the weather of places by the sea which rolls in with grey mist and drizzle. It’s supposed to be June in The Wicked Deep but you just feel a cold summer coming in.
  • The overall concept and storyline is brilliant (witches, sisters, town with a dark past, curses, paranoia and suspicion – yep, yep, yepo)
  • The ocean is terrifying. Thank you The Wicked Deep for reminding me of that.

The book, much like Abba, should say – take a chance, take a chance, take a chance on meeeee.

My review is ridiculously long. I need to learn to cut these things down.

Does anyone read long reviews? Asking for a friend.


My Rating.png

3 Star


29 thoughts on “Book Review: The Wicked Deep

  1. I always have to write my reviews right away or I completely forget everything too. I actually have a little sticky note on my desk with notes because I forget about something 30 pages after it happens… lol 🙂

    And I agree that it looks like there should be mermaids in this one.

    I think it really is as simple as marketing these days with the YA novels – especially fantasy. There is just more $$ in YA for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I got into such a bad habit where I was writing my reviews ages after reading a book and then completely forgetting what it was I wanted to say! I’m going to try and keep this good habit up but we’ll see! I agree – I think some authors go into YA because they can go ‘light’ and make sales. Not the case with everyone but I think its a market that gets over-saturated with some poor quality stuff and then the decent stuff gets hidden! I sound like I don’t like YA but I adore it, I just get frustrated at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review! Yeah, I also felt the same about The Hazel Wood; it could’ve done to target it towards the adult crowd because it did have potential to really take it there, so I see what you’re saying about The Wicked Deep. It sounds like it did many things right, but just never fully took it there.

    Also yes, the ocean is scary af. Anytime that I have nightmares, it’s about oceans. Fear it. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahah love your review! I’d correctly guessed this one falls in the same category as Hazel Wood without even reading it. I used to call these “weak YA” or something written purely for teenagers, but now I can see your point – these books would have been much better if they were adult. 🙂 I’ll still give it a chance, but I feel I’ll give it 3 stars too haha. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason it ‘felt’ the same as Hazel Wood if that makes any sense at all? But I definitely preferred this one better. Give it a chance, I think I’m picky but I wonder if you read it if you’ll think it could have been better as an adult book. I think I’m desperately craving an adult fairy tale/ fantasy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many recent YA novels are average, so I skipped requesting most, except Hazel Wood, which I got rejected for, meh. :/ I will, though probably not soon, as I have some (hopefully) great reads in store for the next month or two. 🙂 I’m getting awfully picky too, with each bad book I read, I just don’t want to waste my time, you know. :/ I’m thinking all fantasy YA books could be better if they were instead adult haha. 😀 Hmm well you bought Faithful, right? And I’ve mentioned Margo Lanagan, I’m actually doing a post about her tomorrow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think average is about right. I love the rare one now that makes me go all weak at the knees. With Hazel Wood you know I’m going to say that you’re not missing out on much! Please read Uprooted, honestly its gorgeous. I always feel nervous recommending a book so highly in case people don’t like it but I think you will. Yes, I’ve got Faithful lined up! I bought another Alice Hoffman the other day – The Story Sisters. Ooh, I shall look out for your post!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep, I can sort of tell if a book is average or really good by the cover and the blurb, but sometimes I make a huge mistake (like with Caraval ughh). Have you read The Language of Thorns? I think we talked about it once? 🤔 Well with Novik I have a really good feeling, so I’ll try to get it soon, I was hyped about Spinning Silver, so I thought I’d read that first, but after a month’s wait the publishers blew me off. 🙄 Haha no worries, if I end up not liking it, I’ll send it to you. 😀 Smeared in goat blood. 🤣 Kidding 😅 Oooh then you do have something adult to read. 😀 I hope I interest you with my post, and you pick one of her novels to read, they are quite unique and adult, but if you don’t like it please don’t do what I said I’d do above hahaha. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Did you hear that there’s going to be a third book in the Caraval series? I swear I turned into the Hulk. Nothing has bothered me so much than this book getting more and more added onto it. Wait…no. Sarah J. Maas’ writing success also bothers me. Those two things.

              You can send me more copies of Uprooted if you so wish! I would love to do a thing where I send someone a copy of a book I loved (or hated) and just…. write my thoughts all over it. Like ‘baby cheeses why is she going into that dark room with that murder guy?! It’s like she’s never watched a horror movie before. Is she asking for death??!! She’s totally asking for death. She’s an idiot. Adsfhdkfhsjh.’ Or something.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Omg 😱😱😱 Someone stop her! 😑 Ahaha I haven’t read SJM but from what I gathered I agree with you! 😄 I swear you and I are book hating twins hahaha, if only you’d read The Crow Garden, but then again you almost did, but then didn’t because of me hahaha 😄

                Hahaha well I have to buy my own first. 😄 Book Despository’s been sabotaging me lately, I wait for my books for a month each, and that’s if I get them at all. 😠 Ahaha well if you sent me a book with ‘baby cheeses’ written in it, I’d love it just because of that, no matter the book contents. 😅 Btw, when’s your birthday Gerry? 😊😏🎂

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hahaha, yes, that would be the perfect kind of day to read it haha!

                    Aww, I hoped it’s soon, but if we both manage to keep our blogs until March 2019, and if the human kind survives Trump, and if we’re still bloggyfriends by then, and if you do not, under any circumstance, read Legendary, then you’ll get a birthday present from me. 😊 And yes, it’s a book. 😊 And no, it’s not Legendary. 🤮

                    Liked by 1 person

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