Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Fathomless

Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: September 4, 2012
291 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

I first discovered Pearce when the cover of Sisters Red intrigued the hell out of me and I just had to read it. I loved it and knew I would enjoy any of her other fairytale retellings. I have yet to read Sweetly, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel since I'm not much of a fan of that fairy tale, but as soon as I saw she had written a retelling of The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to have it. And of course, she did not disappoint.

The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales, though the real version is much different than the Disney one. In the Anderson version, the mermaid must get a man to love her so she can take his soul and become human. Pearce takes this version and gives her own twisted change to it. In her version, the mermaids used to be girls and were turned into ocean girls (they do not have fins) and must steal a soul in order to become human again. They forget about their old life and fall into the sea until they grow old and become "angels"'. Lo, an ocean girl, is desperately trying to grasp her old life and wants so badly to be human again. And when she helps rescue a boy who has fallen into the ocean, she thinks she may have finally found a way out.

Celia also helps save the boy. Not quite a regular human herself, Celia can see into people's pasts just by touching them. Her twin sisters can see into the present and future respectively and she has always felt left out because who wants to see into the past when you can see the future? But when she accidentally reads the mysterious ocean girl and notices that she can't remember her own name, she decides she needs to help her. While getting to know Jude, the boy she saved, she also gets to know Lo and tries to help her remember her old life.

The alternating points of view let us get into both girls' heads. We get to see what happens under the ocean and get to see Celia fall for Jude. Both girls have qualities to like and dislike, but I was rooting for Celia to get Jude the whole way. But that may have been because Jude would die if he picked Lo, but I did want her to become human as well. I wouldn't have minded i this book were 100 pages longer just so I could get to know the girls better. There is still a lot of mystery behind the ocean girls and who turned them into what they are and I wish I had a backstory for that. I do hope there will be more, but I'm sure there won't be. Either way, I hope Pearce continues to adapt fairy tales since she does a bang up job at it.

“The cruelest thing, hope, the way it strings you along, the way it makes you believe.”

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