Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review - Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

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.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. The lastest that I've read of her FairyTale Retellings. It's a retelling of The Little Mermaid... but not the redhaired teenager with the fish for a best friend and the crab for a babysitter.

It's a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen version of the story. The one where she falls for the prince, but he's fallen in love with (and marries) the woman he THINKS has saved him from the storm he almost died in. The little mermaid was permitted by the sea witch to turn her tail in to legs in exchange for her voice AND with the added awfulness of EVERY step on land being excruciating pain. Her sisters barter with the sea witch for a way out. They give their hair in return for a knife that will kill the prince and allow the little mermaid to return to the sea and just forget everything, but she can't bring herself to do it.

Lo remembers that she hasn't always been Lo. But she can't remember who she was before she was Lo. She tries desperately, but to no avail. Her "sisters" explain to her that if she were able to make a human love her she could drown them and steal their soul, turning her back in to her former self. But... who is that?

Celia can see a persons past through touch. She feels pretty useless compared to her sisters because who needs to know what they've already been through... right? Until Lo. FINALLY Celia can help SOMEONE. But at what cost?

Jude. The "prince".  A handsome guitar player who fumbles and falls in to the ocean only to be pulled to shore by Lo and subsequently "rescued" by Celia. He falls for Celia, thinking all along that it was SHE who saved him from drowning. Something Celia doesn't try to correct for a while.

So... Celia feels pointless. Her sisters always tell her that they are stronger together but she never feels like she fits in. I don't know how many of you can see the entirety of a persons past with the touch of your hand, but I think it would be a pretty interesting power to have. But I guess I can kind of see her point. In the... adventures of her sisters... the past doesn't really matter. Much. So I get that. I get the whole "Woe is me, what am I doing here. What's the point?" I do. She's looking for her purpose. And until Lo comes along, she hasn't found it.

I don't know if her eagerness to help Lo is because of her desire to actually be of some use to someone, or if she truly cares about Lo. I think after a while it may be a mixture of both. And I think that Lo got more than she bargained for. They say ignorance is bliss. Lo discovers that she is Naida (Sofia Kelly's sister from Sweetly!) and thinks that the knowledge of her past can bring her nothing but good things.

But it doesn't. She puts herself through excruciating pain on a regular basis to uncover more of her past, and again, I get that part. But unless she can get someone to love her to the point where she can steal her soul, what good is it? She knows that Jude doesn't love her. And even if he did she couldn't bring herself to kill him.

I like that there are different points of view in this story. Sometimes we read from Celia, sometimes we read from Lo. And sometimes, we even get to read from Naida when she remembers who she is enough to narrate. I can't remember how many times I've read a book where I wished I could get in to another characters head but it was only told through the point of view of one person. This book switches between the 3 seamlessly and effortlessly. I never got confused as to who I was reading. Not even when Lo and Naida switched between herself? each other? Anyways.

The more I think about the original story, the more parallels I can see between it and Fathomless. I think that for the most part, this follows it's original much more closely than the other two retellings. Not that that's what makes it better, just something I noticed. However, in tying together with Sweetly in that we find out where Sofia's missing sister went, it also brings in the werewolves from Sisters Red and from Sweetly.

Like before, I was kind of disappointed to find that there was no actual sea witch. And that the "angels" all of the "old ones" spoke of were, in fact, the werewolves from the previous two stories. But I suppose for the sake of bringing the plots full circle it was necessary. It is interesting to see what a different role the "bad guys" played in stories that don't seem like they'd be related in any way.

I love retellings. and I loved this one a lot. I suppose you could read it as a stand alone, but it's more impressive if you've read the other two. Once you find out who is who and what is what it's one of those "OOOOh!" things. I definitely recommend giving it a read!

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