As it happens, fairy tales are right up my alley. I devour retellings like I devour leftover Halloween candy. This year, I got the chance to read Jackson Pearce’s Fathomless, the third book in her Fairy Tale Retelling series.
I don’t often pick up young adult novels. I’m oftentimes disappointed in either the story or the writing, but Fathomless took me by surprise. I like fairy tales to either feel whimsical or dark, maybe even a little creepy. Set in modern times, Fathomless is a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid. There are no flippers or fins, and no seashell bras. Just a darkly woven fairy tale brought up for modern day readers. It is told through the eyes of the sea girl, and the girl who steals her boy away. It weaves together both old fairy tale and new voice into a novel that borders on Gothic romance.
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 was published in September 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It is 304 pages and priced at $17.99 in hardcover, and $9.99 for the digital version.