3 star, YA

Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Series: Fable #2

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.

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.

Another seafaring journey for Fable in this sequel to her titular book, Namesake starts off where the first one ended, carrying Fable farther away from her friends and newfound family into the unknown across the sea.

I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings for book 1 so I wasn’t sure what to expect for book 2. And what I found I enjoyed immensely more here was Fable’s individual journey away from the crew she had just joined. Alone and seeing a familiar face on the ship taking her captive, she didn’t know who to turn to for help or guidance except herself. Her strength came in her decisive actions, whether that be to observe and bide her time or to act with the risk of everything falling apart.

I liked how an old enemy came back into her life as well, giving another side to this character that I didn’t expect to see. It goes to show these characters don’t necessarily need to be just black and white. And with an enemy as her potential only ally, this side of Fable I very much enjoyed.

Unfortunately, this part ended at about one-third of the way into the book. And then the Marigold crew, her found family, came swooping in to save her.

The romance is still aplenty here with West, though I’m still uncertain whether I care much for it. In fact, maybe their time apart showed me I much rather prefer them doing their own thing. Everyone also always raves about the found family aspect of this series but I found everyone still rather two-dimensional and bland. Their respect for their captain dims every time West puts Fable first. West makes emotional decisions whenever she’s in remote danger – and it’s not always the fun protective kind of boyfriend decisions. He’s kind of overbearing and not trusting her with her own decisions and choices. I’m not sure he really respects her when he continually does so.

Plot wise, the story has a twist or two. I can’t say they were unpredictable because I guessed an aspect or other whether it was the full thing or not. The pacing was fine though definitely not pulse pounding. I would’ve preferred a map if that wasn’t too much to ask? At least in the ebook it wasn’t available. The world building grew some in book 2 but I wished there was a little more about this new land Fable reached.

The one good thing I wanted to highlight was the emotional aftermath with her father after everything that occurred previously. It felt real and honest, something that these two needed to have after many years of uncertainty and misunderstandings. I enjoyed their interactions and looked forward to their conversations.

Overall, the story wrapped up quite well with almost all things tied up in a bow. I’m not certain where they’re going to go for a third book but needless to say I’ll probably pick it up just for completeness sake. However, do I have any high expectations for it? I’m not going to hold my breath.

Overall Recommendation:

Namesake started off as a great follow-up to the events of book 1 with Fable captive on a boat headed far from home and family. Left to her own devices and the unfolding mysteries about her present circumstances, I really enjoyed this part of the plot with Fable alone. Unfortunately, with her crew coming back into the picture, things got emotionally messy while the plot progressed in a predictable manner. I preferred independent Fable in more ways than one but who is to say that book 3 will show this side of her more. The other characters still felt flat and I just can’t praise the found family element when all they did was disagree. How the story will go from here since this felt pretty conclusive, we will just have to see.

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