Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ARC Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Publisher:  Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: September 4th, 2012

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I was super-excited when I got word that I was chosen as a stop for the Southern ARC Tours tour of this book.  I'm a huge fan of Jackson's, and I always read her books IMMEDIATELY upon release (if I haven't gotten the opportunity to read them beforehand, that is).  I loved Sisters Red (read my review HERE) and Sweetly (read my review HERE), and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Fathomless, the third book in Jackson's series of Fairy Tale Retellings (one of my favorite genres), for about a year.  Well, I can tell you that while I didn't love it quite as much as the first two, it was well worth the wait.  I've said before that Jackson Pearce is a master at putting a fresh spin on original fairy tales without losing the dark and twisted context, and I love her for that reason.

Fathomless is a retelling of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Little Mermaid.  The original tale is rather dark; it doesn't have that happy ending that most are familiar with, due to Disney's retelling.  In fact, the original tale has our protaginist committing suicide, becoming sea foam...  Jackson does a great job keeping with the dark theme of the original, while making this tale truly her own.  There were some things that I really liked about this book, as well as a couple I didn't, so let's just get down to it.

First off, I have to comment on the cover.  It's a pretty cover, and under normal circumstances, I would probably be singing its praises, but these aren't normal circumstances.  I have to say it.  I'm pissed about the cover change.  Sisters Red and Sweetly both have brilliant covers; two of my all-time favorite covers in YA.  Why did they mess with a great thing?  I was actually really looking forward to the same artist's interpretation of Jackson's Little Mermaid tale, and I am sorely disappointed with Little, Brown's decision to make a change.  So yeah, there's that.

As for what is between the covers?  I have to begin by saying that this book is REALLY hard to review without spoilers, so you're getting my thoughts on how it made me feel more than anything else...  It was kind of an up and down read for me.  It started off kind of slow, and I thought it was really weird, but it picked up, and by the second half, I was loving it.  I think part of my problem was the fact that I didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters like I have in Jackson's other books.  I felt the closest thing to a connection for Celia.  I did like her, but she grated on my nerves a lot too; she spent a lot of time feeling sorry for herself, and while she definitely had valid reasons to feel that way, I wanted her to be more kick-ass.  I wanted to connect with the others, I just never felt it.  I also spent almost the entire book wondering how it was going to tie to the first two books.  I couldn't figure out how the fenrir from Sisters Red and Sweetly could possibly be a part of this story, as I felt they should be, and I became increasingly frustrated as the story progressed without any sign.  The only tie I was seeing for 3/4 of the book was the fact that Celia, Anne, and Jane were of the Reynolds clan.  That said, when the story finally did connect to the first two books, I was in awe of Jackson and her brilliant mind.  I would have never seen anything like it coming.  Not only did Jackson manage to tie the third book to the first two, she shed a lot of unexpected light on them.  It made me want to go back and re-read them with a different mindset.  I didn't even know I need certain answers until I had them, and then I was like, "WHOA!". 

So what is my overall verdict?  I really ended up loving Fathomless.  I did spend some of the read confused and frustrated, but all was redeemed (and then some) at the end.  If you had asked me at the halfway point of this book what I thought, I would have told you that I wasn't loving it, but the crazy reveals and twists of the second half completely squashed and obliterated those feelings.  If you haven't read the first two books, know that you don't need to in order to enjoy this one.  In fact, if you haven't read them, I would suggest reading this one first.  If you have, understand that this book reads differently going into it, and know that you will be left with your jaw on the floor!

My Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There are swears and some violence, but Fathomless is mostly clean.  5th grade and up (ages 10+).


  1. Just got a review copy of this one yesterday! Can't wait. Thanks for the great thoughts.

  2. So glad to hear you liked it. I can't wait to read this one but it will have to be after I finish Sisters Red and Sweetly. Great review!

  3. I enjoyed Sisters Red and Sweetly too so I'm really looking forward to this book. I agree with you- why did they change the covers? I thought they fit the books very well and were so original.
    Also, I'm glad that overall you liked it. I know it's hard to like a book when you don't connect to the characters but now I'm pretty excited to read this book just based on the plot.

    Great review btw- appreciate the honesty.

  4. I haven't read any of these and I just skimmed your review so I would not get any spoilers, but it was enough to know this is definitely going on my to reads!!!

  5. I have hear some really great things about this author and I'm glad to see that his new book is good as well. Great review, now you've really got me wanting to read this one!
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

  6. Wow, sounds good. I will have to add this one!


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