Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Title: Fathomless

Author: Jackson Pearce

Publishing Information:  September 4, 2012 by Little Brown

Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tales

Series information: Book 3 in the “Fairytale Retellings” series

Format: Paperback, 291 pages

Source: ARC from the publisher (BEA 2012)

Recommended For: Fans of mermaids and fairytales


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. (Via Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel, I didn’t particularly enjoy Sisters Red yet I liked Sweetly enough to want to continue on with the “series.” I won’t say I’m sorry that I did but I was disappointed in a lot of ways.

I suppose these are more “companion” novels than novels in a series yet I still wanted to hear more from characters in the previous two books. Characters in Sweetly were alluded to, it’s no surprise that “Lo” is also “Nadia” the lost sister from Sweetly, but I wanted more. I have to give credit where it’s due, all three novels are tied up in a way that make them not dependent on one another. However, upon finishing this book I couldn’t help but wonder if there was going to be another novel to finally bring everyone together. It really felt to me like the “series” is just getting started. Note: If the series is just getting started then these loose ends would make sense to me. However, I have not yet heard or read any indication that there will be  more novels in this series. If you have, please, enlighten me!

I found that kept asking myself questions while reading the novel, “Why do these sisters have powers,” and “Where are these werewolves that plagued the first two novels?” Don’t worry, they show up for a brief episode, and we learn where they come from, kind of. All three novels gives us a major piece of information in regards to the fenris, how one is made, what they do to the girls they “steal” and so forth. Yet I was still left with feeling like I only read parts of different stories thrown together. 

First, there is the idea of it being a “retelling” of The Little Mermaid. True, there was a mermaid who longed to be on land but for me, that is where the comparison ended. Lo longs to have her old life back (the life of Nadia) and she has been told that the only way to do this is to make a mortal fall in love with her so that she can steal his soul. Second, there are the triplets who just happen to have these powers to see the past, present and future. How and why do they have these powers? I’m not sure. For the sake of this story the powers enable Celia to assist Lo in remembering her life as Nadia, to help hold on to her humanity.

There were things I really enjoyed in this novel. The point of view changed between Lo (and Nadia) and Celia so it was really a story from three different characters. This kept the novel interesting. I also liked that Lo wasn’t a mermaid in the way that we know them, the fins and so forth, but more of a girl who can live and breathe underwater indefinitely. I also really enjoyed the ending to the novel. Jackson Pearce has great success in writing endings that I really don’t see coming. In fact, I went back and re-read my reviews for the prior two novels in this series and I mentioned the same things: how I didn’t love the novel throughout, but the ending redeemed it for me. Interesting. Celia, Jude and Lo were fantastic and layered characters that I really grew to love, I felt connected to them as I did the characters in Sweetly. I would have liked to have learned more about Celia’s sisters, as I mentioned earlier a little explanation of their powers would have been enjoyable and would have given the characters more depth, but they played their parts in the end.

I honestly don’t completely know how I feel about this novel. Parts were riveting and beautiful and parts didn’t click with me. If Pearce decides to continue on with this story, I will be back for more but it isn’t something I feel compelled to read.  If you are looking for a different type of mermaid story, one slightly sinister yet also endearing, I encourage you to take a chance and read Fathomless yourself.

Side note: I have to weigh in, I really, really adored the covers of both Sisters Red and Sweetly and to be honest, I am extremely disappointed in the cover of Fathomless. Alas!

5 thoughts on “Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

  1. I haven’t read Sweetly or Sisters Red. And obviously I haven’t read Fathomless. I hate that it was one that left you…unsure. And I hate that they changed the covers. There was so much they could’ve done with the color blue since it was an oceanic story, and wouldn’t a blue cover be so pretty next to the red and the purple? YES.

  2. I find it funny how completely different we are when it comes to series. I always would rather it be companion novels, with little more than a reference to other characters, and I feel like you always want more. I also feel like your opinion of this one has kind of been roller coasting since you read it. I mean, you’ve never seemed to love it, but it seems like one of those you like less and less the more you think about it. Interested to see my own take!

    • I LOVE companion novels but when books are listed as a series, MAKE THEM A SERIES!! Ya know?? I feel so weird about these books, I was compelled to continue reading and you know how excited I was about this at BEA but then looking back I was like wait..I didn’t love any of these books…why am I still going? There was just too much left open for me and it annoyed me because the books could have been standalone novels..I literally had to google things to understand the references to the other books because the details were SO minor yet presented in a way that made me feel like they should be major..if that makes sense?? Anywho, I am excited to see how you feel because you’re not going to be reading the other two, right?

      • I wasn’t planning on reading the other two first, no, and I wasn’t planning on reading Sisters Red at all…so we’ll see if I can follow, or if everything going over my head makes me enjoy it more!

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