Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater. Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.
Fathom was my first read by author Merrie Destefano and the first book in the Chronicles of Crescent Moon Bay series. Here we find selkies, sea monsters and a Celtic legend regarding the character Kira. The tale was engaging, the writing descriptive and despite some issues for me it was a good start to a fascinating series.
We meet Kira as she is seeing her mother’s ghost dripping in blood and we are told the story of her mother and sister’s death. We learn that Kira is an outcast in school and bullied. As she turns sixteen she begins to change; seeing her mother’s reflection in the mirror, craving seafood and feeling the oceans pull. Told from two perspectives we also meet Caleb who is traveling with a group of young teens in search of a Celtic legend. The tale that unfolds is fascinating; offering an original look at selkies and is refreshingly sweet.
I found the tale engaging especially the paranormal elements and legends but I had difficulty connected with the characters. They were all likable but I never got swept up nor did I truly believe the connections of the characters. I felt empathy for Kira, felt her struggle with her change but saw no growth in her as a character. We have the makings of a love triangle but maybe not? Sean and Kira have been friends forever and he is her rock. She kisses him the night of the big party. Caleb and Kira seem to have a connection each time they meet. I really wish Caleb was developed more and that I truly felt his connection to Kira other then the legend. I liked the guy and it will be interesting to see if a true triangle develops. I think my disconnect stems from how young this book feels. While it’s YA and the characters are all around sixteen, this would be perfect for a middle school student as well.
While I could not connect with the characters I did find the story to be enthralling. I wanted to unravel the mystery of Kira’s mother. I loved all the Celtic myths, and the superstitions like not speaking or acknowledging a ghost. The tale was haunting with twists that kept me in suspense but I still have some major questions regarding the legend and need more detail about the monster, characters and other small details. We get most of our details from Caleb’s prospective which helps us understand what Kira is experiencing. The main focus of this tale though is really the romance and it didn’t work for me. The ending for some will feel like a major cliffhanger and for others most threads are complete with a glimpse of what is to come. Here the love triangle comes to an end (at least for now) but I did not feel it. I should note that the author’s writing style is atmospheric, and her descriptions of the sea and the character’s feelings relating to the sea are wonderful. The tale flows back and forth between perspectives and despite the disconnect I enjoyed the tale.
Fans of Celtic legends and selkies should take a look at Fathom and its original take on this myth. I am curious to see how this develops and look forward to the next book.
Three cups of Celtic coffee out of five
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