October 3, 2012

Under the Sea • Fathomless

Fathomless Jackson Pearce book cover
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Source/Format: BEA 2012 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

Celia is one of three triplets with a special power - she can see the past. She doesn't understand the value of her power until she meets Lo, a girl who does not know who she was and only knows that she's turning into a monstrous immortal creature of the sea and cannot seem to stop. The two meet on a day when they rescue a boy named Jude from the sea, and form a fast friendship despite their rivalry over Jude's affections. As Celia and Lo work together to try to figure out how to help Lo, only one question remains: how far will Lo go to save her soul?

As someone who grew up reading fairytales all the time, it’s not a surprise that I have a soft spot for fairytale retellings of any kind. Fathomless may not be an exact retelling of The Little Mermaid, but it does take a lot of the elements of the classic (the mermaid rescuing a human boy, mermaids having a sisterhood, a beautiful and memorable mermaid song) and incorporates them into this fresh new take, written beautifully by Jackson Pearce.

Celia is an interesting character, because she’s never felt useful (in terms of her ability) until she meets Lo. It’s also interesting to note that she never feels particularly noticed or special, unlike her two sisters. Other than that, I thought she had a very kind heart, and was definitely a big fan of her stubborn concern and desire to help Lo.

Lo, on the other hand, was very complex. There’s the “human” side of her, the side that longs to remember life before the sea. This is the same part of her that instinctively helps her realize the difference between good and bad. And then there’s the “mermaid” side where’s she comfortable, happy and seemingly content as a mermaid. Watching her flick back and forth between these two parts of her was definitely a lot for me to take in; I worried about her state of mind, as well as her morals.

I like how the story played out – how it combined the experience of a human girl with special abilities and the experience of a half human/half mermaid girl into one twisty storyline. Each girl had their own view of the situation, and I appreciated getting to alternate between them as the story progressed.

Though I really liked it, there was definitely a surprising element tossed in towards the end that I was NOT expecting at all. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, and I’d definitely love to hear what someone else who’s read this book has to say about it!

Fathomless is an incredibly creative retelling, and it sated my appetite for an interesting mermaid story. I certainly think Jackson Pearce has written something special with this book.


  1. I'm really excited for this one! I love the fact that Jackson Pearce is doing a retelling of the the Hans Christian Anderson story!

  2. If you mean the whole angels/demons thing, I didn't really like that aspect either. Here's my review if you are interested... http://annettesbookspot.blogspot.com/2012/09/book-review-fathomless-by-jackson.html

  3. HOLLA to fairytale love. Also, hm, well the surprising element (if it's that from the commentator above) is certainly...surprising. I wouldn't have expected it either. Glad you enjoyed this!

  4. This one blew me out of the water! Yeah, no pun intended, but it was kind of fantastic. I loved the crazy twist at the end that was a bit unsettling, a bit unnerving, and totally satisfying. Pearce certainly knows how to turn a fairy tale into something completely different and complex, while keeping us all on our toes! Great review; glad you liked it!

  5. I grew up with fairytales, but I'm now obsessed with them. I just love the stories and the wonderful characters in it. Sisters red was great, Sweetly even better, so I'm really excited for this one! I'm looking forward to see the twist on the end. I will come back for it :) Great review!

  6. I have Sisters Red still on my shelf. So glad to see she is still putting out quality fairy re-tellings.

  7. I really need to read this soon, I've a signed copy from BEA as well.

    AND YES, fairytale retellings are the best.


    How did I not meet you at BEA?!

  8. I've read Sweetly and I really enjoyed Pearce's writing style and her imagination really. :D It's just so fascinating how she can put different spins of fairy tales! I'm so glad to hear that Fathomless turned out to be creative and enjoyable for you! ^^

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful review <3 :D

  9. I have my copy from BEA that NEEDS to be read! As far as any YA books go, I have yet to read a mermaid book! I think this is certainly going to be the first, it sound good!


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