Seventeen-year-old Fable is a dredger—a freediver who excavates rare gemstones from the coral reefs that fill The Narrows. For the last four years, she’s been trying to get off the island of Jeval, find the father who abandoned her there, and claim her mother’s place on his trading crew. But when she finally makes it off the island, she discovers it may have been the safest place for her.
I really enjoyed this book and became completely lost in this wonderful pirate inspired fantasy novel. I enjoyed the whole atmosphere, the world and the characters. It is well written and easy to follow and the author did a great job of creating emotion and tension throughout. The plot is simple, but immersive, and you can’t help but get completely engrossed in the world. There is a nice balance of the life on land and days out at sea. There are no intense sword fights or fast action-packed scenes but in all honesty I didn’t miss this at all. There is, however, a lot of conflict between the traders of different ships which adds drama and excitement.
The setting is richly described as are the towns encountered en route, the imagery the author creates is brilliant. I found the dredger and deep sea diving aspect fascinating and I was almost gasping for air reading about Fable’s exploits underwater. The Gem Sages, or people with an affinity and understanding of gem stones – they can sense them and feel them hum, is really intriguing and I hope this is explored further in the next instalment.
The characters are complex and well developed and I really warmed to the crew of the Marigold. I enjoyed following the growth and development of these characters and their back histories subsequently revealed. Our main character is Fable, who has made her way in the world as a Jevali dredger or deep sea diver. She’s the daughter of Saint, the infamous trader, who abandoned her when she was 14 years old, leaving her in Jevali to fend for herself. She is strong willed, fearless and determined to succeed in this ruthless world despite all the odds being against her. Saint is portrayed as a questionable character but there is a very emotional and touching scene with his daughter at the end of the book, which has stayed with me. West is the captain of the Marigold who cares deeply about his crew and takes their problems on board. He’s handsome and mysterious, and there are hints there is more about him to be revealed. The delightful slow burn romance between Fable and West doesn’t overpower the story, it blooms very subtly and it doesn’t come to fruition until towards the end of the book. The underwater kiss scene is magical, I can say no more.
Fable is the perfect start to this duo of books, and although it’s a fairly short at 276 pages, it sets the scene and leaves us with an amazing cliffhanger and twist at the end. It is a well executed, character-driven story with a simple but engaging plot. I did feel the book ended rather abruptly, the story had just begun to unfold and I turned the last page expecting more. However, I really enjoyed this author’s writing style and I now want to go back and read her previous work.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 26 January 2021
Series: Book 1 (of a duology)
Page Count: 276
Genre: YA Fantasy
Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊
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