Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Review: Fable by Adrienne YoungFable by Adrienne Young
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 368
Series: Fable #1
Published by Wednesday Books on September 1, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

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.

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.

These are the rules Fable lives by.  Abandoned at fourteen on the cutthroat island of Jeval, after the death of her mother, Fable has fought for survival. Fable trades her coin for passage to Ceros on the Marigold where she meets West, the quiet captain and his crew. In Ceros, she searches for her father to claim her birthright. 

Fable is a simple story that is about survival, abandonment and finding your own family. It’s also deeply atmospheric. You can almost feel the calm lull of the sea, the sand beneath your feet, the salt on your skin, or the wind in your hair. Young’s writing is so vivid, I dare you not to loose your sense of place while reading. 

The story resonates with a lot of common YA themes, but it’s not your typical fantasy. There is no complicated magic system, no rebels, kings or queens or nefarious political plots. The plot isn’t filled with high stakes action but a more personal and sentimental story. The tragic father-daughter relationship and found family really resonated with me, I felt it made the story all the better rather than focusing on the magic of the world. 

The characters in this story are all wonderfully fleshed out, unique and driven with purpose. Their goals work well with (and against) each other to create a realistic approach to friendships and relationships. Fable wants to find her father and reclaim her birthright. She is strong and will fight for what she wants but she’s also lost and searching for a place to belong. Will is haunted, guarded and ruthless but he will cross any line to protect those he cares about most. The comradeship and sense of family between Fable, Will, and the other members of the Marigold (Willa, Hamish, Auster) were expertly shown (and not told!). It reminds me of Six of Crows (a five-star rating form me!) and it makes the story all the better. Saint has a complicated relationship with Fable. He’s vulnerability is a weakness and he refuses to let it out. 

The romance was both subtle and predictable. It wasn’t until I went back to reread a few passages that it became clear. I liked that it wasn’t overpowering and really relied on the reader picking up on those little clues along the way. Otherwise their deep-sea kiss seems completely out of the blue!

Fable is a slow burn, atmospheric journey that will take you straight the high seas of the Narrows. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to be swept away with vivid writing, characterization and world building. I only awarded this 4.5 stars because there was just the tiny hint of something missing, even if I can name what that something is. 


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