Hello lovely! It has been quite a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and review a book, and this summer has been crazy! Luckily I am back with a whole list of reviews and recommendations for y’all 🙂 I’ve recently been reading quite a bit, so you can be looking forward to reviews of The Secret History, Daughter of the Pirate King, Dune (hopefully before the new movie releases), and everyone’s booktok favorite, We Were Liars. There are plenty of others in the works too, so hopefully I won’t disappear another few months anytime soon.
Today I’m reviewing a fairly recent duology, Fable and Namesake by Adrienne Young. Pirate stories (books and movies) are a weakness of mine, and this one was no exception. Besides having the initial appeal of an intriguing idea, the covers of these books are crazy beautiful. Seriously, the magic in this design is out of this world.
You can’t tell me these aren’t gorgeous 🙂
Without further ado, here’s my review~
For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she 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. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.
Our main character, Fable, is bold and strong. She is thoroughly confident in her own abilities, but she is also human, and does not always win. I really appreciated this aspect of her story- we see so many perfect main characters who never lose. Fable, though, is a different case. She frequently realizes things she thought she knew are incorrect, and many of her schemes do not go as planned. As the tale progresses, she grapples with her sense of independence and desire to be self-sufficient, especially when she realizes just how much others have helped her out, even when she did not desire them to do so. Her internal debate between being perfectly fine on her own and longing for vulnerable companionship is something many of us can relate to. We get to know Fable and her thought processes fairly well throughout the two books, and we see her grow and change as a person over the course of her adventures.
West, one of our other main characters, is not quite so well developed as Fable. I never did get a full sense of his character. It may just be my personal take on the matter, but he came across as two dimensional. The principle struggle we see him take part in is similar to Fable’s: how vulnerable is he willing to be? Does he ever want to truly depend on someone? While I appreciate the parallels between their arcs and the contrast of their different reactions to the question, I do think he came across as more predictable, flat, and less unique of a character. Some of his actions seemed to come from nowhere, and I never really understood why he behaved the way he did or who he was as a person. His relationship with another character also felt forced to me. Based on the first book, I believed him to be a salty, weathered middle-aged to elderly sailor. However, the end of the first book and entirety of the second book showed him to be quite a young man, which did not at all fit the initial impression I had of him.
Overall, I think Young wrote her main character fairly well, but secondary characters left a little to be desired. I misunderstood many of their relationships and motives. Some were better than others, so in general, secondary characters and their development came across as very hit or miss.
The plot of this book constantly twisted and moved in surprising directions. I did not anticipate everyone’s true loyalties or their reactions to various situations. However, at times the plot was lost. The books took me longer than usual to finish reading, because I kept feeling like the story was not moving in any specific direction. In the end, everything pulled together, and we got some lovely action scenes and juicy secrets revealed. Getting to that point, though, was more difficult than I would have liked. While I did enjoy the atmosphere and characters, sometimes the lack of direction became frustrating.
The ending was one of my favorite parts in this book! Character arcs tied up neatly, loose ends came full circle, and all my questions were answered. Young writes suspenseful action and mystery excellently, and her long-term plan for the story and careful mapping of the plot is clear in the last several chapters. I can tell she put work into drawing everything together for the big picture, and I appreciate the effort. It presented itself beautifully.
Fable and Namesake contain very little objectionable language, with maybe a few instances of d*mn or sh*t, if I remember correctly. Violence is not described in excessive detail. There is some sexual content, but nothing especially explicit.
Young’s writing is fairly typical for the young adult genre. The reading level is fairly low, but still enjoyable, with plenty of description to truly make you feel as if you are experiencing the events of the story. On occasion certain passages can come across as thin, and readers may find themselves feeling distanced from the story, but the writing will surely draw readers back in within a few paragraphs or pages.
I recommend enjoying some iced tea and imagining yourself on the dock of an island when reading this book. You’ll be longing for the open sea and sunsets on the waves, so you might as well act like you’re in the story 🙂
Fable and Namesake will pull you into a world of adventure, sailing, storms, and danger, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy every second of it 🙂 Full of secrets and mysteries, the plot unravels slowly, sometimes leaving you with more questions than answers, but always wanting more. If you decide to read these books, I hope you have just as much fun as I did!
Do you enjoy pirate or adventure books? Have you read this one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Have an adventurous day 🙂