Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: "Fathomless" by Jackson Pearce

Title: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012

Lo is a woman of the sea, what one might call a mermaid (though she has no fins). She can't remember her life before the sea, just the vague thought that she had one. But she feels like she is happy under the water and tries to forget.

Celia is a triplet with the power to see a person's past with just a touch, though she feels her power is the most disappointing out of the three sisters—Anne can see a person's future, and Jane can see their thoughts in the present. Celia is shy and feels slightly useless compared to her sisters.

When the two girls meet and together save a boy from drowning, they discover how Celia can help Lo recall who she once was. But does Lo want to know? And what is the cost Celia will have to pay?

In this third installment of the Fairy Tale Retellings trilogy by Jackson Pearce, characters mentioned in the two previous books have their own story told. This isn't really a spoiler, so I'll tell you that Celia and her sisters are the much younger sisters of Silas from Sisters Red, and Lo is of course Naida, Sophie's sister from Sweetly. Finally the two stories come full circle, though that's not to say there isn't room for expansion down the road if Pearce decides to take that route.

I enjoyed the dynamics of the three sisters. Their mother is dead and their father has Alzheimer's, which is a terrible thing especially since they are only 17, so they are all each other has. It's very hard for Celia since she feels like the odd girl out, which leads her to take some risks she perhaps shouldn't when she discovers a use for her power. We see the sister relationships mature during the course of the book, giving more dimension to the characters in the process.

Fathomless rounded out what is now a trilogy very nicely. There was plenty of mystery and action, as Celia meets Lo at night on the shore and tries to read her past. We who have already read Sweetly basically know what has happened already, but it's still exciting to see Lo/Naida get there. One thing I really loved was how the perspective kept changing—first from Lo to Celia and so on, but then Naida had her own chapters as well. What made it really interesting toward the end was Celia not knowing which personality was in charge of Lo/Naida. It takes a bit of concentration to keep everything straight, but I didn't think there was anything too confusing going on.

If you've read Pearce's other fairy tale retellings or you like fractured fairy tales/modernizations of classic tales, this is a solid contribution to the genre. (By the way, this is Pearce's take on "The Little Mermaid.") I've found Pearce's retellings to be original and fresh, and this one is no exception.

Disclosure: I borrowed this copy from a friend.

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