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.
This book is among the best young adult novels I’ve read in 2020. The gorgeous cover caught my attention immediately (and is also among my favourite covers for the year), and I’m glad the content didn’t disappoint.
To start with, the eponymous Fable is such a fabulous character, and I found myself rooting for her from the beginning – she’s so determined, and she’s so willing to see the good in others and do the right thing by them, even though she has no reason to trust people. I though this book did a great job of highlighting both Fable’s strengths, and her vulnerabilities and weaknesses. I also loved the romance; it was there from the beginning, but at no point did it veer into insta-love territory or overwhelm Fable’s personal journey. Watching West’s icy exterior slowly crack open was worth the wait.
I also though the attention to detail in terms of the setting was incredibly well done This book really captured the atmosphere of being on the high seas, and I could also feel the wind and taste the salt water in the air. I’m also incredibly curious about Isolde’s gem magic and the role that plays in the story; I really hope we get to learn more about this aspect of the culture in the sequel.
Finally, the pacing and tension were excellent. Every time something good happened, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and well… we got there in the end. That cliffhanger was something else.
I binged the last half of this book in an evening, and am already on the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel.
Note: I received an ARC for Wednesday books in exchange for a review. Fable will be released on 1 September 2020.