Jera’s Jamboree review : Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

fathomlessPaperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (4 July 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 144491555X

ISBN-13: 978-1444915556


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 soul-less 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.

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Lo’s preoccupation with the human world and the mythology of her underwater world is shared with us in the Prologue.

We meet Celia, Anne and Jane at a carnival.  Anne and Jane use their powers for lighthearted gain while Celia sees her ‘gift’ more as a curse and feels outside the bond Anne and Jane have.  She walks off alone and sees a guy (Jude) trip and fall into the ocean.  Lo, in the ocean with new girl Molly, also sees this and between them (despite Molly wanting his soul), they rescue him.  When Celia touches Lo, she sees some of her past and as she swims away, calls out her name –  Naida.

Celia and Lo meet again and Celia realises that being able to see the past can at last be useful in helping Lo to remember her human life.  Running alongside this is Celia’s building intimacy with Jude.  Celia at last feels as if she has a purpose away from her sisters and using her gift.

Iintrigue/mystery comes from the underwater world mythology.  New girl Molly remembers how they were changed but doesn’t share and Celia can’t get past the scream in Lo’s mind.  Aging rapidly, do they become angels when it’s time? What really happens to the girls living in the ocean?

Sometimes Lo is at the forefront and other times, Naida.  This isn’t as confusing as it sounds as all chapters are headed with the character who is leading … plus their needs are so different there is no mistaking who we’re with.

The settings and environment surrounding the scenes are perfect.  Pearce’s writing is very evocative which led me to believe that I was also a part of the ocean.  Beautiful writing.

Fathomless is much more than a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid.   The triplets reminded me of the Fates and also the three faces of the moon.  There is another key creature from myth too – a creature that underpins everything.   Would love to read the story from their point of view!

I wasn’t sure how it was going to end (would it have a happy ending as in the amended version of Hans Christian Andersen?) but I have to admit that it was perfect!

Whether you are a lover of fairytales or they’re not usually your choice, Fathomless is a story with a plot and characters that will engage and hold your attention … no matter your age!

Buy it and spread the word

Buy it and spread the word

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Check out Jackson Pearce’s website (where amongst other things, you can send an SASE and receive a signed bookplate).  Jackson tweets @jacksonpearce and you can stay up to date on her Facebook author page.


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