Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Series or Standalone: Fable #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
I picked up Fable as I was constantly seeing it talked about over on bookstagram. Given it was so hyped up, I went into this with pretty high expectations. Hype can be a problem as a book has to be amazing to live up to it. Unfortunately with this book, I don’t think it lived up to the hype.
Now, I don’t think Fable was a bad book. I enjoyed it while reading it and am intrigued enough by the story to want to read the sequel. But do I think it’s an amazing book or the best high-seas YA book I’ve read? No. For me, this book was just okay. When I finished reading it, I was scratching my head a bit about why it is so hyped up. We will get into why shortly.
Fable grew up on the sea as her father is one of the most powerful traders in the Narrows. However, after a storm sank her father’s ship, killing her mother and nearly everyone on board, Fable’s father abandons her on Jeval. For the last four years, Fable has been fighting to survive and has one goal – get off the island and confront her father. With the help of a trader West and his crew, Fable escapes Jeval and sets off to confront her father and her legacy.
I think I liked this book, but in terms of the story I did feel like not a lot happened. For a 300+ page book, the plot moved at a glacial pace. I kept waiting and waiting for something big to happen, but it never really came. Yes, there is a cliffhanger ending, but it felt like it came out of nowhere. There were a few moments of action in the book, but other than that it felt like I was waiting around, waiting for something to happen. I almost feel like this book was just a massive setup for book two. I haven’t read the sequel yet but I hope more happens in it.
In terms of the characters, I’m still not a hundred percent sure if I liked Fable or not. I admired her fortitude, but felt like I struggled to connect with her. We did spend a ton of time in her head so you get to know her really well. The secondary characters were interesting and I liked the folks who were part of West’s crew, but I also feel I didn’t get to know all of them that well. I honestly kept forgetting the names of the characters and who was who while reading, which made it a bit confusing. West was pretty fleshed out, but as he’s set up to be the romantic lead, that makes sense. Fable’s father, Saint, is definitely interesting. However, I feel like we’re just scratching the surface with him. I hope we get more of him and book two as I’m still not sure if he’s a villain or not.
As I mentioned, West is set up as a romantic lead so there is a bit of a romance in this book. However, I wouldn’t say the romance is great. I didn’t really see the chemistry between West and Fable. To me, it felt forced. I almost feel like Adrienne Young felt she needed to have a romantic subplot so she added it in, but the setup wasn’t great. When West said he fell in love with Fable the first time he saw her on Jeval I think I eyerolled a bit as it felt a bit cliche. I do hope there is a bit more chemistry and relationship development in the sequel.
Overall, I think this book was okay but nothing that blew me away. If I want a seafaring young adult novel, I’d rather read Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology. That has great characters, a fun plot and a good romance. I am intrigued enough by the story and the ending to check out the sequel, Namesake, but I will be going in with significantly lower expectations after reading Fable.