Fathomless by Jackson Pearce Review

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Title: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce (Twitter)
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 4, 2012
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 291
Source: Publisher

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.
Celia, Jane and Anne are of the sea. Each sister is armed with their own distinctive power. Celia sees your past, Jane understands your present and Anne can see your future. Celia has always been the least powerful and important of the three, or so she thought. When Lo appears with no recollection of who she once was, Celia can connect her past to her present and might just be able to give Lo the greatest gift of all - one that she might just need. But all gifts and powers come at a price, and Lo's price...is high.

Fathomless is the latest installment in a promising series of fairy tale retellings. This time, readers are treated to an imaginative underwater world filled with mermaids, sea creatures and a dark retelling of the children's classic, The Little Mermaid. Interestingly enough, author Jackson Pearce has given us another novel that is a companion the Sisters Red and Sweetly, giving us little hints as to how these stories are minutely enmeshed with one another. With a cold, swirling underwater world as a backdrop and characters that keep you guessing for days, Fathomless moves swimmingly (pun intended).

I have to admit, guys, that I'm a little bit torn on this installment in the series retellings. I wanted really, really badly to love Fathomless, and while there are elements that I thought were done exceptionally well, there were a lot of things about the book that left me wanting more. The book is told in alternating viewpoints from Lo and Celia, which I thought was done quite well. It can be difficult to keep the pace of a book moving if you don't feel a connection with their voices, or if they're not distinct enough. Fathomless did well in terms of distinguishing between both their voices and, therefore, really allowed me to see deeper into their characters, which was a highlight for me. However, I felt that their attraction to the human boy, Jude was a bit cloying and while, yes, it is that way in the classic tale, let's be honest...don't we all want a real reason? There was also a bit of information overload with Fathomless. We're given a great setup, awesome characters and a winning synopsis, but establishing the connections between the companion novels felt a bit too convenient and too forced at times. It also threw the pacing for a bit and drew me out of the world beneath the waves into a mess of confusion, which kind of pulled me away from my love of the story. Thankfully, a winning element, yet again, is the author's ability to create a rich world with vivid words and fantastic prose throughout.

I'm by no means saying that this is a bad book because it's not, and the author's writing style really does shine, as always. I give Fathomless a 3 out of 5, and I'm sure it will work better for other readers than it did for me. I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy fantasy and fairy tale retellings.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. It's nice to know that the world building and the author's writing style was superb, but I don't really like it when events in the plot are too convenient and unconvincing. Great insight!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  2. I love mermaid books, and Jackson Pearce is really cool, but when I read Sisters Red, I wasn't that impressed. It sounds like you had a similar problem with Fathomless, which is a shame. Thanks for the review!

  3. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one, but from what you've said, I doubt I'll enjoy it too much. Still, lovely review, Melissa! :)

  4. I'm intrigued. I'm not normally a fan of retellings, but this sounds good.

  5. I loved the other two retellings and I like mermaids, so I think I will like this one! It's a shame that there was an information overload, but I'm still excited to give it a try. Great review!

  6. I have read a lot of mixed things about it. Its hard to do mermaid books. I think I would like to give it a try my self just to see how I feel about it over all. But great review. gave me lots to think about when it comes to reading the book.



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