With star-crossed love a blight on her family, a young woman reluctantly works with Hades to break the curse in Book 3 of this fantasy series.
In Fathoms Below (2016) and Fathoms Above (2017), Holt told the story of Cather Stevens, an American high school cheerleader and the descendant of a long line of women with broken hearts. From the Greek god Hermes, she learned that Zeus’ long-ago curse on Thisbe to prevent her union to Pyramus has recurred many times in Cather’s family line. Cather married Peter Ganis—last living descendant of Pyramus—to end the curse. He has strong feelings for her, but she’s torn between Peter and Hermes. The curse won’t be fully broken until the 10 lost pieces of Thisbe’s soul that were scattered by Zeus are reunited within Cather. A clue points to Greece, where the newlyweds and Hermes find several soul pieces while dodging fearsome attacks by Zeus-sent killers. But when Peter is tricked and falls into a coma, Hermes must watch over him while Cather gathers pieces and looks for Peter’s cure. She has a shady ally in Hades, who agrees to help so he can get back at Zeus. As the two venture up mountains and under sea, facing gods and battling monsters, Cather recovers all except the last soul piece—but she may be a pawn in a larger game. The story will continue in the next planned volume, Fathoms Across. Holt ably combines romance and mythology with an emphasis on action. The gods and mythological creatures are well-conceived in both traditional and present-day manifestations; Hades, for example, fights cage matches on Earth. Although Holt does provide exposition, readers unfamiliar with the first two installments may find Cather’s deep feelings about Peter and Hermes somewhat abstract. A drawback is the abundance of annoyingly repetitive tics, such as the phrase “Trust me” and characters smirking or drawling. Also irritating is “quipped” used with ordinary remarks like “No” or “Wow.”
Entertaining, but the writing could be stronger.