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
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: –
- I broke my reading slump. Yay! I had a lazy Sunday morning and read this whole thing in a couple of hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:-
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.