Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

by Jackson Pearce

ISBN-13: 9-780316-207782
Publication: September 2012 from Little, Brown
Series: book 3 in Fairytale Retellings
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

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.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce is the third book in her fairy tale retellings series and revolves around The Little Mermaid, one of my favourite fairy tales. Jackson Pearce manages to keep the darkness of the original tale while incorporating some of the well-known aspects form Disney’s version, and it works very well.

Celia is a triplet – and they aren’t just your normal run of the mill triplets. She and her sisters can see the future, the present and the past. Celia, who can see the past when she touches others, thought she had the most useless gift of the three until she helps a mysterious girl rescue a boy from drowning. Enter Lo and Jude. Lo lives in the ocean. Brought there by the angels, Lo is her second name as she has forgotten her life before the ocean. Eventually, Lo will forget even this part of her life until she one day swims away to be with the angels. Jude is the love interest in a very interesting triangle with Celia and Lo. Though Jude is a main character in the book, Celia and Lo are really the focus and the characters we come to know the most about and feel connect to. Celia’s got the best of intentions and a huge heart. She cares of Lo and is falling for Jude. She’s loyal to her sisters but has some bratty moments. Lo is mysterious, confused, compassionate but hurt and sometimes resentful. Both girls are fully realized, but I can’t say the same for the others. Celia’s sisters are present but have hardly any development, and while we get to know Jude he isn’t explored deeply either. The book mostly focuses on the friendship between Lo and Celia.

The way that Jackson Pearce ties this third book into the other two, Sisters Red and Sweetly, is really interesting and different. I confess that I had to go back to Sweetly and skim to refresh my memory about certain characters, though; namely Naida, who makes an appearance (and thank goodness for chapter headings, or I would have been fairly confused at certain points as to who was narrating – Lo or Naida), and I’m not saying much more about her since it will lead to massive spoilers. Celia’s power of hearing/seeing/knowing the past comes in handy when trying to help Lo and Naida, and the mythology behind the ocean girls (mermaids, if you will) is well done and interesting. I really liked the method of keeping the girls from leaving the ocean (since they don’t have tails!) and the way twins and triplets play into the plot of this book, and the series overall.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce is an interesting take on The Little Mermaid, and a great addition to the trilogy. The romance between Jude and Celia moves at a realistic pace for teens, and the final scenes of the book are intense with a wonderful message on the power of love for your friends being just as strong as the love for a significant other and family. A highly enjoyable read, and definitely recommended for fans of Jackson Pearce’s other novels.

ARC received at Book Expo America through author signing.