Fable Review // first mate wanted

What is that? Oh, you know, that is my love for oceanic settings growing tenfold. I just want to stand on the helm of a ship with the dramatic wind in my hair and the sweet scent of salt surrounding me. Instead I am stuck inside bundled in blankets furiously typing on my laptop while it sleets outside. Magical portal to a fantastical land?? That was your cue!!

No… well, I guess we’ll work on that. I want my own adventure. Does someone want to go in on a pirate ship with me? Currently taking applications for a crew and firstmate. Related: if you had a pirate ship what would you name it?? I’m thinking Sharkbait (because you can never have too many Finding Nemo references in your life).

What is the point of all of my pirate babble, you ask?

  1. I want to be a pirate
  2. Fable is a charming tale that just so happens to have pirates.

But this wasn’t your average pirate tale. It was a story about found family, grief, and surviving. I mean, there were pirates (yay!) but it also managed to be so much more. So, without further ado, let’s hop in to the review.

Book: Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

Published September 1st 2020 by Wednesday Books

Format: ebook

TW: Blood, Child abandonment, Death, Drowning, Grief, Murder, Mutilation, Vomiting

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. (from Goodreads)

Before we hop in, I would like to take a moment of appreciation for the queen of imagery and description, Adrienne Young. The writing was so vivid. I felt the wind on my face and heard the waves lapping on to the edge of the ship. It was glorious. And the ship jargon just transported me to the world along side the characters. 

Fable was dumped on an island full of thieves and greedy backstabbers at age 14. By her father. The day after her mother dies.* Which first of all, harsh. The girl literally just watched her mother die and you dump her on an island, leave her to fend for herself, and then tell her she isn’t capable of sea life. Yeah, so parenting is NOT Saint’s forte. 

Fable is a fighter, a survivor, and resilient. After Saint just abandons her on this island, she could have very easily put her tail between her legs, but instead she embraces the five golden rules and fights to become stronger.

  1. Keep your knife where you can reach it.
  2. Never, ever owe anyone anything.
  3. Nothing is free.
  4. Always construct a lie from truth.
  5. Never, under any circumstances, reveal what or who matters to you.

I really liked how the five golden rules are woven into the story. They help Fable survive by influencing her every decision. There were all she had for such a long time, and you can see how they were ingrained in every choice she makes.

*I have my suspicions about her mother really being dead, but maybe I’m just being overly suspicious. It seems like there is more to that story, especially with the way things ended

I would have loved to see a chapter from West’s perspective because I honestly don’t know what was going on in his head half of the time. He kind of seems like a moody cat that just scowled and brooded half of the time. I didn’t dislike him necessary, I just wanted to understand him a bit more.

That being said, I still liked the romance. I think rule number five (Never, under any circumstances, reveal what or who matters to you) played a big part in the relationship between West and Fable. They are both pretty closed off about their feelings, but the moments they did have are golden.

First of all, confessions that involve admitting you have killed 16 people and telling someone you love them in the same breath hit different. Ok, but in all seriousness, the I’m-broken-and-didn’t-know-I-could-love speech gets me every damn time. This is the type of relationship where they would literally give their soul and left arm for each other. And it is beautiful. 

And secondly, Underwater kisses* >>> regular kisses. And I will stand by that. As our good friend, Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian, so wisely said, “Under the sea / Darling it’s better / Down where it’s wetter.” Spitting actual facts.

*Though I don’t know how they didn’t start choking on water, but details, details. Seriously how does that work?? Inquiring minds want to know. 

It took a hot minute to get into it because Fable does have a pretty slow pace. Once I got into the story, I didn’t really mind because it let other elements shine. There were moments of adventure woven into the story, but most of the focus was on the characters.

The crew had solid development and all of the relations and trades were super interesting. The dynamic of the crew slowly festered (ok festered sounds gross, but you get the point) over time was so pure and natural. They slowly built trust and began to rely on each other. Watching that found family dynamic shine, especially for Fable, was hands down the best part of the book. 

The ending!! First of all I did not see that coming. If I look back in hindsight I can see the breadcrumbs, but the breadcrumbs weren’t neon light so I wasn’t able to go full Hansel and Gretel. It was cleverly woven in and now I need more ahhh.

If you are a fan of books that are character driven, pirate filled, and featuring the found family trope, then Fable is fo you! I absolutely adored all of the crew and the writing style was utterly transportive. I am counting down the days until I can read Namesake!

Have you read Fable? What did you think?? What would you name your pirate ship if you had one?

37 thoughts on “Fable Review // first mate wanted

  1. I loved reading your review, lovely! I haven’t read this book yet (but heard about it a lot) so I will try it out! And (WHAT?) a father dumping their own child after the mother dies sounds cruel. But at least she toughened up a bit to survive.
    I’m all for romance books, lol so i will be trying this book out (;

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book sounds amazing!! Who doesn’t love underwater kisses?!?! When you said that, I was immediately reminded of Percy and Annabeth, 5th book…. Great review April 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh thank you! yess the description is top tier and the moments between west and fable were golden. I guess a perk to being a ya character is that you are immune to drowning just long enough to have you underwater kiss… I wish lol. yay! one crew member down… (how many people are required for a pirate ship???) left to go haha! thank you for reading 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OOOOH this looks REALLY good. I’ve heard of this one but never payed much attention to it but WOW this sounds awesome. Going straight to my tbr.
    PS have you read All the Stars and Teeth? It’s sorta just a generic adventure story but there are, in fact, pirates. Er, one pirate, but still.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss it is sooo good. I hope you’ll like it when you read it!!! Oooh I have not read All the Stars and Teeth yet. But if there are pirates (or only one hehe) I am sold. I will most definitely be adding it to my tbr because I eat those generic adventure stories up. Do I have an obsession?? yes, yes I do. but it’s ok. we’re fine. me and my pirate stories are just chilling.
      thank you for your recommendation and for reading Phoenix!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aah, I do too!
        Yeah, AST is great. I read it in like April 2020 and absolutely loved it, since I got more into the bookish community it’s sorta been pushed beneath other books I enjoy more but it’s definitely still a fun read. There’re a LOT of conflicting opinions on it but yep, definitely generic adventure story so if you enjoy those I think you’ll like this one too. No problem, loved your post!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ok so I might have binge read AST and All the Tides of Fate. I have no regrets lol. It was such a fun adventure. pirates! mermaids! named weapons! and action, so much action!! the magic system was a touch difficult for me to understand, but once the story got into full swing it started to click into place. thanks for the rec haha I loved both so much!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. WHAT.
            SLOW AAAAAAAAH. Yeah I haven’t gotten ATF yet I reaaaaaaaally need to read itttt! I’m really glad you enjoyed them both though! I thought the magic system was one of the best in any books, it was so unique (I havent read book two DONT SPOIL)

            Liked by 1 person

              i’m super lucky to have such a big library so close to me and even for fortunate that they have a large ebook selection loaded with new releases.

              AHHH i hope you’ll like it! yess once i figured out what was going on the magic system was so interesting, truly like nothing like it. my lips are sealed with spoilers, but i hope you’ll enjoy!!! can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!!

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. Aaah I have both the physical and e copies on hold, tryna see which gets to me first. The e copies have more people waiting and I’m pretty close to the front for the physical copies but…my library hasn’t actually gotten the physical copies into the library yet…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Ahhaha thanks for the suggestions. I actually got All the Tides of Fate on Sunday, as a valentines gift from my parents (books=love so….). It was the special version from owlcrate that has a different cover and is signed, even! I finished it in less than 24 hours. Still waiting on Vow but oh well…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. haha no prob! i’m all for speeding up hold lines (by any means necessary)

                      AHHHH YAYAYAYA!!! yesss straight facts!!! books do in fact equal love. you’re so lucky! that editions sounds positively delightful!! ooh what did you think????????????????

                      fingers crossed for vow!! like i said, there’s always manifesting lol

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I KNOWWWW the cover is so prettyyyy (here’s the link if you wanna see what the cover looks like: ). It was…well, I really enjoyed how there was a lot more character development. I really, really, really liked Ferrick in this one and I loved how his and Amora’s friendship blossomed since in book 1 Amora acted like he was a deadweight a lot. But he’s really grown into his spot on the crew! I also like how we got to explore some of the islands in greater depth because that was cool to see. I wish that the curse had been a little more front and center in the plot though, like Amora said that she could feel Bastian’s feelings but that…was never really there. AND AAAH THE ENDINGGGGG NOOOOOOO

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. omg that edition is stunning!!!! yessss 100% agree. Amora kinda treated Ferrick like trash in book one so it was really nice to see how their relationship developed seeing how they weren’t engaged anymore!! yesss all the islands were so cool. i feel like they helped me get a better understanding of the magic and how they were individualized in the islands. it was also cool to see people learning multiple magics after amora changed that rule. ooh that’s a good point. the whole feeling feeling thing was only put into play when it was convenient to the the plot. like could they both feel each other’s feelings or was it only one way???? YES YES YES THAT ENDING DESTROYED ME

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Yeah, she really did. It’s sort of like, in book 1 Ferrick’s always trying to impress Amora and such and she really doesn’t like that so she doesn’t treat him well because of that. Plus, she’s annoyed about them being engaged which really makes her dislike him. But it’s nice to see when they’re not engaged that they’re friends, and really good ones at that! Yeah, I mean we definitely got to see some of Kerost in book 1 but there’s just so much more to it. And Valuka, I loved seeing Valuka!!! Yeah, I thiiiink that they could both feel each other’s feelings but it was really never shown. And that part where Amora just started, like, getting punched when Bastian was getting punched…like how does that work, does she feel EVERYTHING that happens to him? If he, idk, falls off his hammock on the boat would she feel like she fell off? Or would she fall off? I really wish that were cleared up more. OH MY GOSH AAAAAAH. Ferrick was actually one of my favorite characters in that book, he’d just…changed so much. But aaaah it’s just so crazy, they all forgot everything! What I’m wondering is why they didn’t just go into his room and look around, like his name’s gotta be somewhere or SOMETHING. That letter stayed so clearly things that he touched or whatever stay so…I just feel like there are so many ways to remember. Do they have like a registry for everyone on the island? If they’re ALL thinking they’re missing someone or whatever, how do they not find that’s weird or look into it???? Aaah I miss Ferrickkkkk


  4. My application for first mate:

    My ship would be named Millennium Crest, a cross between Millennium Falcon and Razor Crest(from (or should it be Razor Falcon? Falcon Razor?) Star Wars). I too aspire to travel the seas! Pirate tales are the best tales!

    Lovely review!


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