As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.
I have a complicated relationship with Adrienne Young’s books. Her writing is beyond gorgeous, but I never quite love every aspect of the story. Something always falls short or doesn’t feel quite right to me. Nevertheless, ever since she revealed the first line of Fable (and the sequel Namesake) on Instagram, I was jumping at the bit to read them. I unfortunately missed a chance to get it at ALAMW, but a booth worker was kind enough to send me a copy after the conference was over, so thank you a bunch to them! Trigger warnings: grief, vomiting, blood and injuries
My feelings towards this book are extremely complicated. I honestly go back and forth between loving it and not loving it. There were things I felt weren’t developed enough, went too fast, or could have been delved deeper into. But, the things I loved, I seriously LOVED. So, complicated haha.
Alright, to start off, Young still knows how to write beyond gorgeously. Seriously, it’s like she’s managed to capture fresh air or a cold wind in her words. It’s so satisfying to read. Even if I don’t fall head over heels for all of her books, I will always love her writing. This book was no different.
Also, this book had a really interesting, unique feel to it. Fable is a dredger, she looks for gems and other things she can sell under the ocean. It was fascinating. Though, there did seem to be some diving information that was a bit off. Like, she easily dives, without any gear because it doesn’t exist in this world, 500ft. This is a manuscript, so maybe that will be changed in the final book!
This world also felt truly cutthroat. There’s no room to stop or to breath without danger creeping up behind you. The urgency and the strategy came through in such a strong way.
I also loved the sailing, the ocean, and everything to do with the water in this book. It’s ironic because I do not enjoy the beach haha. But, it felt so different from other ocean books, probably because of how different the world was. For example, there’s a crew that Fable finds herself in the presence in, but it’s not an instant family dynamic. The world doesn’t allow for those bonds to form and I liked seeing Fable interact with them from an outsiders perspective.
I also really liked all the characters. Every single side character felt like they had their own story and I felt like I got to hear it, even if they weren’t in the spotlight. Fable was also brilliant. She burns as bright as her hair.
One of the things I didn’t like was how I felt like there was something deeper and darker underneath everything, but it never came to fruition. It made what actually happened seem plain in comparison. There was this one scene that took my breath away and I would have liked for that darkness to seep into the rest of the book or to add some more mystery into the plot. I think I was just expecting this world to go darker and into more magic and it just didn’t do that.
There were also parts that felt kind of slow, like I should feel more tension and more urgency, but it just wasn’t there. It’s just that what the character’s did sometimes felt solid, but not completely cemented in.
The romance also completely threw me off. In the end, I liked it and I think the characters work well together. But it came out of nowhere. I actually thought there would be no romance for the first half of the book and I was really happy about that, but came out of what seemed like nowhere in the second half. I think more pining and more development would have been beneficial. Or even no romance, to really focus on what Fable is trying to find and where she’s trying to go.
In the end, there was an incredibly good part that made me eager for the next book, so I will be reading it! It shall be interesting to see where the relationships goes, where the plots heads, and how the world develops.
Thank you for reading!