Namesake (Fable #2) by Adrienne Young #bookreview #YA #fantasy #pirates #TuesdayBookBlog

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she 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 her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets 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.

Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology. 

Fable, the first book in this duology, was one of my favorite reads last year, and I kept my fingers crossed that Namesake wouldn’t let me down. It didn’t.

Again, I have to mention both stunning covers in this series. The designer deserves a commendation. As with Fable, much of this book is also spent on the high seas, and I’m wondering why I haven’t read more books with that setting. I could just imagine the smell of the salt air and feel the wind in my face along with Fable. During the course of this story she’s proven herself a cunning, resourceful survivor several times over, but I have to admit she started to annoy me a bit in this book. The stakes are high, she learns a shocking secret about her family, and is forced into some difficult situations, but comes across as selfish at times and forgets about how her actions affect others. She’s not the only one with something to lose. I was happy to see a couple of characters call her on it and get her to see the bigger picture. West surprised me. He holds his cards close to the vest and has a dark side he’s not proud of, but he has some profound moments of honesty that don’t come easy for him. Made me like him even more. Saint also has some unanticipated but much needed moments.

I adore Fable’s found family of the crew of the Marigold and was happy to learn more about Paj’s and Auster’s backstory. I also like the way the author cleverly weaves it into the story and turns it into an important part of the plot. A character I didn’t expect to see again makes it back for a quasi-redemption story and turns out to be a nice addition to the crew.

The final scenes are nailbiters and tension-filled. Intricately layered plans are built upon the word of pirates – but can you really trust them? With several surprises that blindsided me, I was worried about how things would play out until the very end. When all was said and done, Namesake is a fitting end for these characters that I’m sad to say goodbye to.

High seas adventure, gem mages, pirates, secrets, backstabbing – this is a thrilling YA fantasy series and one of my favorites I’ve come across recently. I’m now a confirmed pirate fan.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young #bookreview #YA #fantasy #pirates

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.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Honestly, I was on the fence about requesting this book from NetGalley, but after reading so many fantastic reviews, I decided to give it a try.  Now, I’m raring to get my hands on the second in the duology.

From the first page, your heart goes out to Fable.  She’s literally abandoned on an island full of criminals by her father – it’s a true sink or swim situation.  Over the course of two years, she struggles to survive and learns some hard lessons along the way.  Considering all she experiences, her trust issues are valid.  Without such a strong, independent, charismatic MC, I’m not sure this book would have gotten such stellar reviews, but for me, Fable and her quest make the story.  With much of the setting on the open sea, it receives bonus points.

Stakes are high, and Fable is in near constant danger.  When the crew of the Marigold reluctantly take her in, she discovers they harbor many secrets of their own.  After a rough getting-to-know-you period, trust and relationships form – I’m a sucker for found family stories.  And if anyone ever needed the support of a family, it’s this group.  With the crew, West’s and Willa’s characters are well-developed, but the remaining three aren’t as clear-cut and seem interchangeable.  The author could have more planned for them in the next book – I’m anxious to learn their stories.

If you’re a fan of pirates, high seas adventure, closely-guarded secrets, and feisty main characters, I highly recommend Fable.  Now I need the second book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig #bookreview #YA #historicalfiction #adventure

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

I was happy to read this for one of my book clubs.  It was on my list when first released, but I was never able to get around to it.

Mention time travel, and I’m immediately on board.  Throw in some sort-of-pirates?  Just icing on the cake.  The crew on this ship immediately won me over – especially Kash.  He may be a thief, but he’s also charming, clever, and the biggest highlight of the book for me.  I loved how the characters were just as comfortable in modern day New York City as in 1868 Honolulu, and had items like contemporary clothing and cell phones stashed below deck.  The complex relationship between Nix and her father is unusual and intriguing.  His obsession to find Nix’s mother is certainly understandable, but could also result in Nix disappearing – yet, she still helps her father search.

The story was moving right along for me and held my interest – until the crew arrived in Hawaii, and soon after the pace came to a grinding halt.  It picked up again after a while, but there was a definite lull that I skimmed through.  The introduction of a love triangle surprised me – it didn’t seem to fit in with the plot, and got in the way of the real story.

This was an interesting read, but a lengthy one at over 450 pages.  If you’re a fan of history, time travel, and love triangles, I’d recommend The Girl from Everywhere.

Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #pirates #TuesdayBookblog

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride. 

I’ve read several books by C.S. Boyack, and by now, I’ve come to expect wildly inventive world-building, charming characters, and a thrilling adventure.  This book definitely didn’t alter those expectations.

Where can I find me some root monsters?  I’d love to have a bushel of my own.  These guys made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count.  They’re quite the little scoundrels, and a valuable addition to the crew.  Speaking of the crew, they’re a diverse, boisterous crowd with varied backgrounds, and kind of a family of their own making.  Everyone brings a special skill to the table.  And they’re pirates!  Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, quirky characters, a hint of magic, and a touch of romance, Voyage of the Lanternfish fits the bill quite nicely.