I’m still loving this YA pirate girl trend, so of course I was excited to get back to Fable’s world. Also, I adore how the covers form Fable’s face! This is the second in the duology, and can’t be read as a standalone, so this review will contain spoilers for the first book.
“We were salt and sand and sea and storm.
We were made in the Narrows.”
At the end of the last book, things were finally looking up for Fable – and then she got kidnapped by Zola and his crew. Though she initially thinks he just intends to get back at West, it soon becomes clear that there’s more going on than just that. For one thing, Clove, once her father’s second-in-command and a good friend to her mother, is now on Zola’s ship and apparently a trusted member of his crew. What sort of betrayal would have driven him away from Saint? Unmoored and uncertain, afraid of what West and the rest of the Marigold will do to get her back, if they’re even trying to find her, Fable can only do what she does best – survive.
It’s very hard to talk about this book without going into too many spoilers. Suffice it to say that, while it’s a lot of adventurous and plot-driven pirate-y goodness, it also focuses on the relationships between Fable and the three main people in her life: her mother, Isolde; her father, Saint; and the newest and most uncertain thing with West. There’s not a lot of new character development, except between Fable and West, though we do get a bit more in terms of background for some of the Marigold‘s crew. There’s also a few surprising cameos from old characters, plus some new ones, including a delightful new villain. But while they’re there and serve to move the plot along, they never felt fully fleshed out to me.
“That first day on the Marigold came rushing back to me, standing in the passageway with my hand pressed to the crest on the door. I had been a stranger in that place, but I’d come to belong there. And now everything within me ached for it. A flash of heat lit beneath my skin, the sting of tears gathering in my eyes. Because I’d been a fool. I’d let myself believe, even if it was just for a moment, that I was safe. That I’d found a home and a family. And in the time it took to draw a single breath, it was all torn away.”
What struck me most was Fable’s longing for a home and family. After she’s kidnapped, she truly finally realizes how much the Marigold has become her home. A large part of that is West, sure, but it’s also the crew and the freedom she experienced there. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that, of course, West finds her, but it’s just as she finally starts to understand that her kidnapping was a small piece in a much larger plot, one that will lead to Saint’s death. Fable’s relationship with him is the definition of complicated, and she can’t just walk away from him (like he did to her). But that decision strains her relationship with West and the rest of the Marigold, leading her to question where, exactly, her true loyalties lie, and whether the Marigold can ever be her home again.
“You can’t keep trying to take control of everything. You can’t save everyone, West.”
Both Zola and Saint have warned Fable that she doesn’t really know West, that there’s a streak of darkness in him that she hasn’t seen yet. While Fable initially scoffs at it, further events cause her to question her understanding of him and what lengths he’ll go to to keep his crew – and her – safe. And how dare the person who abandoned her on Jeval lecture her about drastic actions? But while Fable and West have a lot to handle in the relationship, it doesn’t even hold a candle to the massive amount of “it’s complicated” between Fable and Saint. As with the other plot lines from the first book, there is some resolution to their relationship, though I wasn’t completely satisfied with it.
Overall, this is a fast-paced and engaging read, and definitely recommended if you need more pirates in your life.
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.