For all of you lovely people who have been around for a while, you might have picked up on the fact that I like pirates. Just a little bit. You might have also picked up on the fact that I have the patience of a walnut and despise cliffhangers with every ounce of my being because oh my god I need to know what happens, like, right now.
Combine those two things, and what do you get? The answer: Fable by Adrienne Young. An all time favorite pirate book, top book from 2020, and basically a mini time vortex into pirate-landia because I swear I can smell the salt of the sea and see the glow gems everytime I open it’s pages.
Namesake was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and it did not disappoint in the slightest.
Beware: there might be some slight spoilers for Fable (check my full review out here!) Read at your own risk.
Author: Adrienne Young
Published March 16th 2021 by Wednesday Books
grief, violence, vomiting, blood, injuries
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found. (from Goodreads)
Fable is very much the heroine we know and love from the last book. That being said, there we’re a couple times where the logic train just went off the rails. Especially when it came to Saint. I thought we had a bit of resolution* there, but apparently not as much as I thought because Saint still managed to screw everything in this book without having much page time. But I also ended up liking him? Kind of? I honestly don’t even know at this point. *scrambled thoughts*
*I definitely should have reread Fable before Namesake because I have the memory of a soggy cracker.
If anything was underdeveloped in the last book, it was West. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% separating his character from the romance, because we are all for that underlying tension and simmering feelings that we know are there but the character pretends aren’t. But how can they pretend the feelings aren’t there because they are literally raging at the heat of Venus. But putting all that aside, I was happy to say well, hello characterization.
Unapologetically bad characters are the absolute best. Would I want to actually want to know one in real life? Umm no, I don’t particularly want to be stabbed. But they are fun to read about. West definitely crossed the line into unapologetically bad in this book. He got some much needed characterization on the book and I was pleased with all the development and depth added.
Related: Looking for another unapologetically bad main character?? Check out The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller.
Alright. Now I’m ready to talk romance. I absolutely loved the relationship between Fable and West. It’s really interesting to see the relationship from a different lens, especially when Fable gets snatched as well as the aftermath when they build up trust. I said it before and I’ll say it again, but it’s the type of romance where they’d give their soul and left arm for each other, and burn anything and everything that got in their way. Absolutely glorious.
Though I do have a bit of a question for Fable. She acts somewhat surprised that West’s hands are covered in blood and that he is willing to do anything for her. Like, ma’am, I could’ve told you that at the end of last book, where have you been? The man literally told you that he has killed 16 people and that he loved you in the same breath. We knew he was the shadow man for Saint, we knew he had bucketfuls of trauma, and we most certainly knew he was willing to play dirty. Hell, we saw him murder someone on page. Not sure why we’re surprised by this, but ok.
I would just like to say that my spidey-sense was very much on when it came to Fable’s mother. There was no death fake-out or rising from the dead, but there was definitely more to the story. If Fable is Saint’s story, then Namesake is Isodele’s.
Even though ~suspicions~ were a bubbling and a brewing in my mind, the way everything was executed truly is brilliant. I only saw like 5% of the picture, but Young was able to hook you in with her intricate story, schemes, and betrayal which made everything 5x better. Not to mention the imagery that brought all the plans to life.
Young took the words “scheming” and “backstabbing” and claimed them as her own in this book. So many strings were being pulled, full on scheme sandwiches were happening, and it was insane, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. A lot of the drama was on shore, so we didn’t get as much time with the crew of the Marigold, but there was still enough ship time to make it all feel pirate-y.
In Fable, when Fable’s priorities changed halfway through it annoyed me a bit because I was more reading for the plot than the characters. But in Namesake, I was reading for the characters because I had a whole first book to get invested in their stories. So, when Fable’s priorities changed midway again, it didn’t bother me nearly as much.
In some ways the end could be considered somewhat anticlimactic. There were no evil seadragons, no eye gouging, no battle to the deaths or anything like that. Instead there was a dramatic takedown. As someone who thrives with what I like to call the “court drama” (whether it be traders, royals, +++) I really enjoyed the ending. Verbal smackdowns, betrayal, and all that jazz wrapped up the story so well. I personally loved it.
And the last line?? Wrapped up everything so nicely and made me want to start the duology over and go on a pirate adventure again.
Y’all. I paused reading this book halfway through because I didn’t want it to end. I actually stopped reading one of my most anticipated releases of the year because I wanted to bask in its glory a bit more. I loved spended time with these characters, the vivid imagery, and the closure for all of our faves. Highly, highly recommended. I think I might have liked it even better than Fable. But both are absolutely binge-worthy.
Have you read Namesake? What did you think?