by Adrienne Young
“Three or four more weeks and I’d have enough coin to barter passage off Jeval and into the Narrows to find Saint and make him keep his promise. I’d only been fourteen years old when he dumped me on the infamous island of thieves, and I’d spent every day since scraping together the coin I’d needed to go and find him. After four years, I wondered if he’d even recognize me when I finally showed up knocking on his toor. If he’d remember what he said to me as he carved into my arm with the tip of his whalebone knife.”
Ratings & Reviews
Book Grade: A-
Fable is a wholly original story that allows a determined girl to take the spotlight in a battle against the world, her crew mates, and her own family. This book is part pirate adventure, part coming-of-age story, but I loved that it kept me guessing the whole time.
The book does take a bit of time to get into – not because the action isn’t there, but because there is a lot of world world building. Readers need to figure out a bit of the context and the unusual place and character names can make this a bit tricky. This really is the only obstacle to enjoying this book. When reading it, I felt a bit like I jumped into the middle of a conversation, but after getting the lay of the land, I was totally immersed in the story and needed to follow Fable’s journey to the end.
Movie Rating: PG-13
Fable brings up some potentially difficult topics – the death of a parent, a father abandoning his daughter, a female character being brutally attacked by a male character, and a character struggling to survive against the odds. There are some romantic scenes, but they are brief and a lot is left to the imagination. There is a gay couple that is central to the plot, but their relationship largely goes unexplored. There is also a repeated discussion of parents with one character revealing that their mother was a prostitute who largely self medicates with alcohol. While these alone are all challenging topics, they are woven into Fable seamlessly, yet may still prove touchy for some readers.
Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes
Fable was a delightful read. It has action, adventure, romance, and a bit of drama thrown in. While it won’t be for everyone, this book – which I anticipate is the beginning of a series – is an enticing read with a totally original plot. Plus, I loved the cover and am eager to have this on the shelf for its sheer beauty. Readers should be reminded to give Fable a few chapters before they give up on it – as mentioned above, it is a bit tricky getting the lay of the land because of the names and descriptions early on in the book. Yet, I have a feeling that for many of my students, once they dive in, they will thoroughly enjoy it and want to follow Fable’s story to the end.
Fable has been living on the island of Jeval for four years, waiting for the day when she could leave and be reunited with her father who mysteriously abandoned on her on an island known for little more than thievery and dishonesty. She has used her gifts as a diver to collect sunken treasure to trade for coins so that she might survive. Getting off the island, however, might be the least of her worries.
Fable, the title character in the eponymous novel, is strong willed and stubborn – a bit like her father, Saint, who is known as one of the reigning traders in the land. For some reason, however, after a tragic accident that caused their ship to sink on, and killed Fable’s mother, Saint abandoned his daughter on a desolate island and promised that if she made it back to him, he would give her what he owed her. When she manages to get passage away from Jeval, though, she realizes that life will never be simple or easy for Saint’s daughter.
Working with a crew that doesn’t really like her to find a father who doesn’t seem to care is just the beginning. She needs to figure out how to survive in a world that both values and despises her because of her talent and who she is connected to. Thrilling and original, Fable is a clever coming-of-age story about a girl determined not to be held back by what others think.
Book Talk Questions:
- Explain why Fable is an exceptional diver. What gift does she have that helps her really know where the treasure is?
- What is the one physical way that Fable remembers her father? What does she learn that it means and how can this help her?
- Explain the relationship between Fable and the other crew mates. What does she discover about the ship and how does this impact her understanding of them?
- What is Fable’s inheritance? How might this change her life?
- What does Fable realize about West? What is his hope for the future? Who is he looking out for?
- What questions still remain based on the way that the book ends?
A Perfect Read for Fans Of…
- Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
- The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning
- Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust