Do not be fooled by the quotes people are using in their reviews for this book. Those quotes will make you think that you are going to get a dark and twisted and impactful story about magic and revenge. I think this book wanted to be about those things, but what THE WICKED DEEP actually ended up being was on par with what you'd get if you'd asked Stephenie Meyer to rewrite The Craft.
The Swan sisters (see, TWILIGHT) were three beautiful, scandalous girls who ended up being murdered as Witches in Sparrow, Oregon because the townspeople got tired of their BS. Now, Sparrow has become a West Coast Salem, MA, with tourists flocking to the small island every summer for a chance to see the mysterious drownings that occur once every year. Because, as local legend has it, the Swan sisters never truly died, and are taking their revenge by possessing the bodies of young girls and seducing young men into the sea to die.
Penny Talbot is our insipid main character and yes, before you ask, she's one of those plain, clumsy girls who doesn't know she's beautiful. She's also a judgmental little you-know-what who's jaded beyond her years and has something to say about pretty much everyone. Her love interest is a drifter-like dude named Bo who won't disclose why he's come to Sparrow, or where he came from before, and his current life goals include having a part-time job in a tourist trap and sleeping on the beach.
Obviously, it's meant to be!
Sinister, Scooby Doo-like sh*t starts to happen, and the touristy shenanigans reach a fever pitch as teenagers do what teenagers have done since the dawn of time according to Hollywood and YA authors: use any event of the slightest bit of significance as an excuse to have wild parties and drink a metric farkton of alcohol. When/if the Swan sisters come back, these teens will be ripe for slaughter.
Annnnnd... I guess that leaves only trusty old Penny to save them.
Sorry teens, it was nice knowing you.
I received an ARC of this book and initially had no intention of finishing it because I looked at the reviews and compared them to the blurb and realized that rather than being the Gothic mind-flip I was expecting, it was going to be closer to something that Sarah Addison Allen would write, only with the insta-love-laden melodrama of ASHES ON THE WAVES. But this kept showing up in my feed, over and over, and everyone was like, OMG, it's so good, and I thought, "Well, they were wrong about CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, but they were right about THE BELLES, so maybe..."
Nope. There really isn't much to make this book stand out, apart from the decent writing. For 70% of the book, the story is as slow as sap sliding down a tree trunk on a cold day. In the last 30% there's finally some action, but by this point, the "sympathetic" main character has revealed herself to be an utter twit (only replace that "I" with an "A" to get the gist of my true sentiments), so I no longer cared what happened to her or if she even got a happy ending, because she had officially made my sh*t list.
Oh, and that ending - that ending was TERRIBLE and brushed aside a pretty serious issue that I felt should have been handled much better than it was. I can't say anything else about that because it's a huge spoiler, but I'll say that it involves consent and sex and yeah, what the actual hell, book.
Not sure why everyone is giving this positive buzz. I thought it was incredibly lame. I'd rather watch The Craft.
P.S. I predicted the "twist" by the end of the first chapter.
Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy
1.5 out of 5 stars