Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Fairytale Retellings (Book 3)
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 0316207782 (Little, Brown/Hachette)
ISBN-13: 978-0316207782 (Little, Brown/Hachette)
Reviewed by: Michelle
Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.
When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.
Quick & Dirty: There were no fins, under sea palaces, nor anything glamorous about life under the sea. Instead, Pearce fills the pages with descriptions of the dark abyss.
Opening Sentence: There are lights at the surface.
In the Fairytale Retellings series by Jackson Pearce, Fathomless is a loose take on The Little Mermaid. Pearce’s take on mermaids wasn’t your typical run of the mill. There were no fins, under sea palaces, nor anything glamorous about life under the sea. Instead, Pearce fills the pages with descriptions of the dark abyss.
Fathomless follows the life of two special girls. Celia Reynolds is the youngest of very talented triplets. She can see the past, while her sisters see the present and the future. Celia has never felt important or special enough, especially when compared to her sisters. All until one day on the pier, when a young musician falls into the pier, does she feel worth. Coincidentally, it’s also when Celia meets Lo. Lo was once a human being, but now lives underneath the water. You can call her a creature of the sea, for she can’t really be called a mermaid or a nymph, or anything like that. Lo doesn’t remember her time as a human, and looks towards Celia for help. Together, Celia and Lo form a quick friendship, finding a kinship with each other and being able to share things that no one else can. Sadly, they also share the affection of that young musician. By doing so, one wants to gain individuality and the other wants him to love her, and steal his soul.
Celia’s gift has failed her many times in the end, causing a rift from her two other sisters. Longing to belong to something more, and looking for the love and companionship that she lacks from her sisters, Celia is someone to sympathize with. Celia felt like the anchor of this book, and while everything changed, Celia stayed the same.
Lo is an underwater creature, quickly losing her identity and any human memory that she may have had. She follows her sisters, simply existing underneath the surface. Lo is filled with sorrow and melancholy, giving up any piece of individuality. It’s only when she meets Celia that she slowly wakes up. So of course, I can’t talk about Lo without talking about Nadia. Nadia is the alter ego, or Celia’s human self. Nadia is what Lo holds on to with ferocity, trying so hard to remember the name, the memories, everything. For a while, I didn’t like the duality of the voices. It wasn’t that it was confusing, but it was a lot to take in.
Sisterhood is a huge theme in Fathomless. Both Lo and Celia discover what is missing within each other’s lives and within their own. Both are unique, and both need to face their futures. But I felt that there were a lot of scenarios that were predictable, and when there was a twist thrown my way, I felt like I knew it was going to happen all along.
It’s hard to gush about the world that Pearce created with Fathomless. There wasn’t anything spectacular about this one, at least when I compare it to Sisters Red and Sweetly. There wasn’t anything that tied this book to the others, like the first two did. I felt disconnected to Pearce’s writing, much more than I did with the others.
There was a point where the novelty wore off, at least for me. I became too focused on keeping the details straight that I lost sight of what was going on in the story. I felt confused at times, and I couldn’t keep my focus.
But when the night ended and most of her sisters covered themselves with sand and went to sleep, Lo stared at the sun from deep beneath the waves, at the tiny threads of blue light that made their way through the water, down to where she was.
Her soul was gone for good. The boy was dead, the girl left alone on the shore. And for nothing, nothing at all, other than a fairy tale and a few scattered memories of life on land. Let it go. Let it all go.
And she allowed herself to forget
Fairytale Retellings Series:
1. Sisters Red
4. Cold Spell (TBA 2013)
FTC Advisory: Little, Brown provided me with a copy of Fathomless. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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