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Friday, October 5, 2012
Book Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Fairy Tale Retelling
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: From publisher for review
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For more information, visit Jackson Pearce's website
Celia and her two sisters have powers. Celia can see someone’s past just by touching them. Her other two sisters have the gifts of present and future. One day when Celia is walking along the pier a young street musician falls off into the ocean. Celia rushes down to the beach to help. At the same time an ocean girl named Lo has surfaced with her sisters. Lo used to be obsessed with remembering what it was like to be a normal girl who lived outside of the ocean. Molly, the newest of the ocean girls still remembers. When they see the young musician fall, Molly is told by one of the older girls that if she makes the boy fall in love with her, that Molly can leave the ocean. Lo knows it isn’t possible and rushes to save the young man before Molly drowns him.
This is a Little Mermaid retelling, not the Disney movie, but the original story. It sticks to a lot of the haunting details. This is also the third book in Pearce’s fairytale retelling series. I didn’t read the other two, and don’t know how, or if the first two are related. I will say that if they are related it does an excellent job of standing on its own. I didn’t feel like I missed anything from the other two books. It’s also a young adult novel. Usually the simplistic notes in young adult novels bother me, but that isn’t the case with Fathomless. The haunting prose of the story captured me on the first page.
The story switches off between Lo and Celia’s POV. Both girls are broken. Lo can’t remember her past as a human, and she also knows if she goes forward as an ocean girl she will turn into something else. She doesn’t want to stop being herself, but most of all, she wants to stop forgetting. Celia lives in the shadow of her sisters. She wants to be herself, and not an extension of her sisters. There is a dark note in both girls.
After the musician, Jude, is saved Celia starts a relationship with each. With Jude she can me just herself, and with Lo her gift is useful. Lo reclaims some of her past with Celia’s powers and starts to unlock the mystery of what happened to her. Like Celia she is haunted by who she was, and who she is now. Both girls serve as an excellent counter point to one another. As the mystery unfolds Celia’s sister Anne makes predicts death, and with a hurricane on the way the story explodes to an exciting conclusion.
Fathomless has a Gothic tone to it. The spin on the fairy tale is authentic, and it adds a modern tone. The writing is simplistic, as is most young adult, but told in a way that both teens and adults will enjoy it. It does have its share of angst. Jude is not the most dependable of men, but makes the right choices when it counts. He pushes both girls to be what they are, which is the message of the story. I would recommend this for those who like the retellings. I look forward to reading more from Pearce.