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 knows what it’s like to lead a hard life. After her mother dies Saint, her father, abandons Fable in Jeval claiming she will be safer away from him. Only he abandons her with nothing, no coppers, just the clothing on her back. To survive she has had to train as a Dredger, diving down finding pyre, the stone that is local to Jeval. She has spent the last 4 years dredging to earn enough money for passage across the Narrows and back to Saints side. After an incident with another dredger, Fable has to escape Jeval and ends up begging West, the trader who has been buying pyre off her for years, for passage through the Narrows. Only West & his crew don’t seem too keen to have Fable on board, and Fable has to fight to keep the secret of her birth. But it’s not just Fable who is holding secrets on the Marigold, and some just might prove their undoing.
I’m going to start off by saying there were a lot of things I liked about this book, and a lot of things I didn’t so this is going to be a bit of a mixed review. Fable as a character was well written and easy to bond with. She’s resilient, head strong & loyal, just not necessarily to the right people. She’s a typical teen in so many ways, but a teen that has had to age quickly, one that has had to survive by themselves, made hard decisions to ensure they survive & this plays a large part in her character arc. However, in my opinion, the side characters were tragically under-developed. Apart from a few none were really vital to the plot, they didn’t further it or Fable’s story along. I enjoyed reading the parts with the crew of the Marigold but just felt that they could have been given a little more page time to develop.
Young’s descriptive writing was one part of the book I thoroughly enjoyed, Susan felt parts were a little repetitive, but I was fully transported onto the deck of the Nightingale and down into the depths of the ocean when Fable was dredging. One of the first ‘set at sea’ books I’ve read where I really felt the descriptions come to life, I could easily picture the scenes in my head and had a lot of fun reading for that reason. We also see quite a bit of the ‘world’ Young creates, each town/ port has its own vibe and I could fully imagine the hustle and bustle of trading life, meeting all the different merchants and trying to sell your wares.
I’ve read a lot of people saying they loved the ‘will they wont they’ style romance in the book and, I think I can speak for Maddie, Susan and I when I say we just didn’t get it. Yes, at the start of the book there is a certain spark that isn’t acted on, but then it flits from one page saying they can’t care about one another to making out under the sea… the realities of which I feel might be a little off. If anything I felt it was more insta love and wish it had have been dragged out a little more.
I mentioned in the group chat that this was a sort of ‘palate cleanser’ book for me. Nothing big happened, there were no massive revelations, no page clenching or nail biting moments. The book kind of flits between plot point to plot point without anything really happening. Now that’s not saying it wasn’t fun. I definitely enjoyed the book, it was fast paced and enjoyable, a kind of guilty pleasure, you know it’s not great but you can’t help but love it anyway, and I think with the amount of high stakes books floating around atm, it was nice reading something without being absolutely terrified of characters dying, or scream worthy cliffhangers.
I think, and hope that the author used a lot of the information she gave us in the book to set up book 2, and even if I was a little disappointed at the ending ( we had come up with some epic cliffhangers in the chat) Young has gripped me enough that I will be picking up book two.