In my quest to read more books that I already own, I picked up Fable by Adrienne Young as my second physical book this year! I enjoyed Young’s Sky in the Deep duology quite a bit, and wasn’t disappointed here either
- Title: Fable
- Series: Fable, #1
- Author: Adrienne Young
- Publisher & Release: Wednesday Books, September 2020
- Length: 361
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for YA adventure fans
Here is the synopsis from Amazon:
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.
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.
Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue and adventure.
Let’s start with The Plot and Story: I liked the story quite a bit. Fable is abandoned by her father after a shipwreck, and has to find her way first back to him, and then to a life of her own. There is plenty of danger and storms on the high seas, as well as tension on the ship to keep things interesting. The reader learns the twists and secrets along the way, as there was no info dump and we learn about the world as Fable sees and remembers it. I was never compelled to keep reading at any point but was never bored either. Young is one of those authors who sacrifices a lot of potential action and exciting events for character time, which caused Fable to lose points from me
The Characters: Like I said, Young spends more time on her characters than anything else, so I will go there next. Thankfully they are good characters.
Fable is a great example of showing, not telling, how bad-ass a character is. She survives on the island of thieves through pure determination and skill, then holds her own on a crew of suspicious traders. We are never told, she just acts, and that is what separates a true leading lady from all the Mary-Sues of the literary world. I like her!
West is a mystery and we get the sense that he still has a lot to uncover. His crew is a great lot once you get to know them, with limited banter but you know they’re a family.
Saint, her father and the most influential of the traders, is also a mystery but he will come back in book two, I’m sure. They had one nice moment towards the end though and I felt almost bad for him! Fable’s scar though- geeeez. At least he did give her the tools to succeed.
The World: The world is called…..oh wait, it’s not. The area of the sea is generally referred to as “The Narrows,” but Young really did not focus on world building. There are multiple regions mentioned with people that may be influential in book two, but the map only shows the places on West’s trade route and the country is given no name. There is so much world building you can do with traders (ask Garth Nix) but Young follows the belief that YA readers want characters, so we don’t get that.
The area/country isn’t given leadership either, in some books featuring traders there is one person at least overseeing things, or the guilds have power. Some powerful trader lady elsewhere is mentioned but not as leadership. There are trading guilds in another area, which I love, but they aren’t expanded on so we don’t know how they run, just that for example,The Merchant’s Guild can revoke trade licenses. Saint is the most prominent trader and has a lot of political influence, and there is an antagonist, Zola, but without much background he just seems like a jaded cartoon villain. There isn’t much on local customs and traditions at all except for the sailor who feeds the birds
Setting: The towns/cities/islands are described pretty well, as well as life on the boat at first anyway, and I think her best world-building came in the descriptions of the seas and the storms. There is one scene where they go underwater, everything is silent and the lightning illuminates bodies and the ship breaking…. ….setting is where the book makes up a lot of brownie points, the ocean and Fable’s memories are well told.
Young still hasn’t learned how to tell time either. Sky in the Deep was notorious for passing time in an impossible manner, and this is no different. A journey that should take a few days happens….oh….lets say they get there in the morning, including a break to drop anchor for a few hours at least. Someone’s severe wounds are healing and apparently it either happens in three days, or more time passes and she doesn’t show it well.
Overall: This is YA, and thr teens probably don’t care if the action is a little bit anticlimactic or just glazed over at times, because the characters kiss instead, right? It was still a good story though and I’ll be reading my ARC of book 2, Nameless, soon due to the cliffhanger at the end! Would recommend for fans of young adult adventures, and books that take place on the seas!