Published: September 1, 2020
Genre(s): fantasy, young adult, pirates, adventure
Read as: ebook library loan
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.
“Like light cast over the morning water, it became new. Every moment that lay ahead, like an uncharted sea. This was a new beginning.”
When I rate books, I don’t have an algorithm or set of benchmarks to go by. There is no checklist, no definitive measure. At the time I finish a book I rate it on two simple things: how it made me feel and how it was constructed. That being said, rating this book was tough. Why? Because it made me feel bored and disappointed while still being a well written YA fantasy. How do I combine those two very conflicting ideas and come up with a star rating?
I may have given this book a three but I’m not set on that.
Lets start on a high note with the positives of this book. I have read one of Young’s previous books, Sky in the Deep, and it was easy to see how much her writing has grown since then. I love to see growth in an author. Sky in the Deep was slow moving, did not have clearly defined characters, and the plot progression was sporadic at best.
Fable had none of that. In Fable, we had clearly defined characters that were vibrant and easy to differentiate even when their names were not specifically mentioned. The story progressed smoothly and nothing felt clunky or rushed. The general flow just felt good and was easy to follow along with. The main character, Fable, had a clear goal and although there were, of course, some hiccups along the way you could see the story moving toward that goal. Overall, there is very little I can fault for the writing and feel strangely proud for how much Young’s writing has progressed.
On the flip side of that coin…good grief was I bored! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the story’s fault, this I think is 100% on me. Such a large part of reading is what enjoyment you get from it and, boy, even though I could see that this was a well constructed story it didn’t make it any more interesting for me. I love to read fantasy and this book’s fantasy elements, although there, were hardly a blip in the grand scheme of things. The characters made the bad decisions you would expect of a group in their late teens which is exactly as they should do in a YA novel but that didn’t stop me from mentally shouting at them to stop being so dang thick.
I wanted to love this book, I truly did, but if I were rating it on pure enjoyment this one wouldn’t get more than a 2. Then again if I were rating it on quality of writing I would likely give it a 4. Do you see why I am conflicted?
Is this book worth a read for lovers of YA fantasy? Yes, I think it is. But I will say go into it with the expectation of the fantasy elements being very subtle and the characters not using much sense to make decisions but there is plenty of drama and conflict to keep things moving.