Title: Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings #3)
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4th, 2012
FTC: The ARC was sent to me from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a mermaid -- a term too pretty for the soulless monster she's becoming. Then Lo meets Celia when they work together to rescue a handsome boy named Jude from drowning. Unlike Lo's ocean sisters, Celia has the ability to help Lo remember her human past. The two form a friendship but soon find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than love, though. According to ocean lore, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her... and steal his soul.
I absolutely love fairy tale retellings so when I received the ARC for Fathomless by Jackson Pearce in the mail, I was very excited to start reading. As one can tell from the cover and title, this book is based on The Little Mermaid. Not the Disney movie, but the darker original story by Hans Christian Anderson. You know, with sea foam, knives and all? Read more about the original here.
Once I started reading, I could not stop since there were so many questions I wanted answered. How did Celia and her sisters get their powers? How did Lo get turned into a mermaid? Who are the "angels" that the mermaid sisters keep talking about and what part did they play in Lo's transformation? What was the purpose of her transformation? Even as I got closer to the end, a lot of the questions remained unanswered. A lot of the ones that did get answered brought up newer questions which was quite annoying. I did hear that some of the things referenced in this book were also in the previous books in the series so maybe reading the other ones would have helped. I disliked the switching point of views back and forth between Lo's human self and Lo's mermaid self. It was not very effectively done and was confusing at times. Another thing I disliked in the book, Jude was the most blah YA love interest I have ever encountered. His character was so flat and one dimensional. Broke musician who writes songs about girls and the ocean? *le yawn*
Despite all that, Fathomless is a very engaging story. Being a soulless mermaid has been all Lo can remember and she can finally start to remember her past with the help of Celia. Celia has felt overshadowed by her sisters all her life and now has the chance to prove her own worth by helping Lo. On the other hand, their friendship has a dark side to it. It's the classic "friends fighting over boy story" but this time, one of them wants to steal his soul. It's a very cool and interesting idea. The underwater scenes with Lo and her mermaid sisters were haunting and sad, not what you usually think of when you hear the word "mermaid". I loved how Pearce redefines mermaids in that sense. Another thing I loved was the ending. The ending can make or break a novel; in this case, the ending saved it! Holy cow, it was definitely unexpected. Not exactly a perfect ending, but with enough closure to leave me feeling satisfied.
Overall, I thought the novel had great potential, but I was really conflicted while reading it. The plot is great and the world that the author creates is really fascinating. But there are too many things going on at once and many questions are left unanswered. I'm probably going to check out the first two books in the series to see if that helps. This is still a worthy read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the previous books in the series and fans of fairy tales and paranormal romance.