- Author: Adrienne Young
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: September 1, 2020
- Publisher: Wednesday Books
- Series: Fable #1
TRIGGER WARNING: mutilation, parental abandonment, off-page death of a parent, murder, drowning
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and provided voluntarily.
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.
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
It took me a little bit to get into this book, for some reason. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down and read it in two sittings, only broken up by my overwhelming need for sleep.
Fable lives a tough life, working hard for everything she has, with no one to trust and no safety net. She relies on her ability to free dive and dredge for gems to sell, so that she can survive and save up enough to escape Jeval, a dangerous island that her father abandoned her on after her mother died four years ago. She lives by a code of rules her father taught her:
“Keep your knife where you can reach it. Never, ever owe anyone anything. Nothing is free. Always construct a lie from a truth. Never, under any circumstances, reveal what or who matters to you.”
After finally saving enough, she manages to get herself off the island with the help of a trader, but Fable quickly realizes that nothing is what it appears to be. And the world has become much more dangerous than it was four years ago.
I was impressed at how the author managed to convey so much seafaring information and make it (mostly) understandable to someone with absolutely zero knowledge of ships. The descriptions were so vivid that I could almost feel myself sliding around the deck of a ship during a storm, and experience the burning in my lungs during a free dive.
Fable herself is a complex character — she’s smart, strong, self-sufficient, and tough, but she’s also sensitive and cries when she feels strong emotion. She grew up in a difficult environment and hasn’t had anyone to rely on but herself since her mother died. I wanted to see her succeed from early on, and loved that even when circumstances knocked her down, she always picked herself up and kept going. The rest of the crew was interesting, and I couldn’t wait to figure out what their deal was. Everyone keeps their secrets guarded closely in the Narrows, because what people know about you can be used against you.
There’s one part in the story that felt a little rushed to me, and that is the romance. I wish there would have been more development in it. It kind of popped up out of the blue, after all this tension. I got the feeling that Fable might have had romantic feelings for someone, but there were no signs that it was reciprocated until suddenly … it was.
The book was fast-paced and there was definitely no shortage of action. Every time I thought I had something figured out, the story took a sideways turn and surprised me. I loved that the majority of the story was unpredictable. The biggest thing that I didn’t like was that it ended on a big cliffhanger, and didn’t really wrap up any of the loose ends. Unfortunately, the next book in the duology doesn’t come out until March 2021, and it isn’t available for request on NetGalley. I’ve wished for it, so 🤞🏻!
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 12
Categories: Book Review