Adrienne Young’s latest YA Fantasy, Fable, is the start of a grand, seafaring adventure–a salt-water soaked story to delight those whose hearts belong at sea. The story is a triumph for Young, the perfect whirlpool of swashbuckling action, swoon-worthy romance, and sensational world-building.
The story follows Fable, a young girl, who after the night of her mother’s tragic death, is left for dead on an island of thieves by her own father Saint–the most notorious and renowned trader of the Narrows. Using the smarts and survival skills taught to her by her mother, Fable scavenges and dives in the waters for gems, and then sells them for coin.
The goal–get enough money to get out of this hell hole and prove to Saint that she is strong enough to join his crew.
Fable enlists the help of West, a young trader she has been selling gems to for the past few years, and pays him to get her across the narrows to find her father.
However, the sea and the traders on it have changed during the time Fable has been trapped on the island. Saint’s trading enterprises have only gotten more dangerous, and West is keeping secrets. Fable will have to weather a lot more than stormy seas in order to make it out alive.
This has been my favorite book of 2020 thus far, and the best book Adrienne Young has released.
The seafaring aesthetic is to die for with the sparkling blue waters, tropical fish and coral, tinkling gemstones, and the smell of salt in the air. Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise or the Daughter of the Pirate King duology will be in heaven.
The worldbuilding is topnotch with features of the Narrows being revealed organically and not through massive info dumps. We see how the world works through the Fable’s eyes, not by the author telling us. This world feels real and gritty, but at the same time, still carries a whimsy similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. Young was able to find the perfect balance of realism and spectacle. Also, I appreciate that the magic in this novel is subtle, it doesn’t feel forced or so fantastical that it takes away from the realism and rawness of this story. The magic enhances, but isn’t the spotlight.
We finally have a romance that isn’t instalove! Fable and West may not have been “friends” for years, but at least they have worked and have known each other existed for that long. Their love is not easy, both people have a lot of baggage, but they find their safe place in each other. It is beautiful, and I am so excited to see how it unfolds in Namesake, the finale to this duology.
Lastly, the father-daughter dynamic in Fable is probably my favorite part of the entire story. I will keep it brief for the sake of spoilers, but their interaction at the end made my eyes well with tears. The emotional baggage between these two characters could fill the ocean, yet Young fleshes out their feelings toward each other in a nuanced, delicate and heart-wrenching way.
Fable is a must read for this year. This little seafaring story has sailed its way into the harbor of my heart, and it has no plans of leaving. If you want to experience some of the best YA the current marketplace has to offer, read Fable now!