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BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne YoungFable (Fable #1)
by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review

Never, under any circumstances, reveal who or what matters to you.





In the land of ever-changing Young Adult Fantasy, the newest (as far as I know) trend is Pirates and the like. Anything to do with the sea, really-and I can’t believe how deeply it resonates with me. This is only the third or fourth story set at sea (exclusively) that I’ve read, but it easily catapulted to the top of the pile with grace.



I don’t need much to make me happy-a tortured-or loyal (or both)-hero, a feisty or fierce or witty heroine, and a fantasy that takes me away. That has a deeply rooted foundation capable of carrying a story even when things are slow, or only day to day fillers. They don’t need to be action packed from beginning to end. And, as a seasoned reader and reviewer, I’ve learned I don’t even like that. Back when I was a little less sure of what worked for me, I always thought that action meant good and the more there was, surely the better the book would be.


This crew had already been in trouble when I stepped onto their ship, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was going to be the storm that finally sank them.





After countless series crashing and burning (in my humble opinion) because of this exact reason, I learned that action does not equal plot, and action does not equal a story that resonates deeply in your soul-it can’t possibly reside there, because what really was there to grasp onto? What did the characters say or do that stuck with you? The answer is convoluted and a whole lot of nothing. But, with master storytellers such as Young? There’s something special there that can’t be won with flash and flare-it’s won with quiet, fierce storytelling and a few perilous battles here and there. THAT is how a good fantasy is told, and it’s how it becomes a permanent resident in my heart.

I was standing in the breezeway with my heart in my throat, trying to figure out how to say goodbye, and West couldn’t wait to be rid of me.





Character driven stories are really the bread and butter of my all-time favorite books in my most recent, wiser years, and this story-while there was plenty of action for my taste-is no exception. Fable is an AMAZING heroine, one that I rarely see anymore. I don’t get to read like I used to, but I still know a good heroine when I see one. I have always been about the book boys, but I have a soft spot in my heart when a fierce female comes along and steals the show.

Fable is made of tougher skin having been raised under the Narrows trade leader, Saint, and after being left on an unforgivable island where she had to fight for her life every single day, she’s not one to be messed with. One goal in mind, she dredged day after day, morning to night, to make coin when the Marigold came every couple weeks looking for what only she could deliver. She’d trade what she had dredged, and she was finally close enough to get off the life-threatening island she was left on four years prior…until she attracted the attention of every other dredger trying to find the same HEA fate as she, and instead it became about fighting for her life not silently and intently as before, but kicking and screaming, striking a deal with the only trader she could halfway trust-West.



Which…this brings me to the crux of everything, doesn’t it? West was a beyond amazing character, for me. I love when the heroes (and the heroines) are morally gray and you can’t quite pinpoint who they are, what their intentions may be, and how they want the pieces to fall. West was just that. He is a perfect example of the heroes I continually fall hard for, because he keeps his emotions close to his chest-He doesn’t betray what he’s really thinking. But, his actions continually speak louder than his words (or lack thereof) and he is always waiting in the wings, rushing to help Fable even when he can’t trust her.

And though West had said again and again that he didn’t do favors and that he didn’t take chances, he’d done both. Over and over.
For me.





This was the slowest of slow burn romances and it was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. I don’t need book long, flashy romances. I need that build, that something to look forward to-the hoping, the praying, the what-if of how it will-or won’t-happen. And, ultimately, I love waiting for that horrible end we just know is coming. I’m sorry, but it gets my perilistic, masochistic heart pumping and my blood buzzing. It simmers under my skin just WAITING to see what obstacles the hero and heroine will face and…I’m done sounding [exactly like who I am] psycho.



Fable honestly took me by surprise. I knew I wanted to read it; I was excited about it. But, it wasn’t until I started the book that I felt my soul leave my body and my heart begin pounding, butterflies erupt in my stomach, and a giddiness erupt that is unparalleled since having my little boy. It was an escape, a world to look forward to after a long day with two small children, a sickness that just now seems to be finally going away, and a reprieve from my ‘I must always be on’ duties. I haven’t felt like that in over a year. For that, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Fable.

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne YoungFable (Fable #1)
by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

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.

Review

And like the turn of the wind before the most unpredictable of storms, I could feel that everything was about to change.

There’s something about the sea that calls to my reader mind. I personally, in real life, have always been wary of being on boats and get nervous when there is even any small bit of waves to make the trip anything less than calm and steady. For some reason though, for as long as I can remember, I have read just about any kind of young adult book with pirates or set on the water. I love learning the terms for the different parts of the boat and hearing about how the water looks in the dead of a clear night—all of it.

There were several reasons why I wanted to read this book immediately when it came out. Adrienne Young has not steered me wrong so far with her gorgeous writing, THE FREAKING COVER, and the mention of the sea being Fable’s only home and bam, I clicked the request button on NetGalley so fast.

Just as I suspected, I was not in any way let down. We are introduced to Fable, a girl whose father is one of the most infamous traders around and who left her to fend for herself on an island of hardened dredgers with the promise that if she were to find her way back to him, she would have a spot with him on his ship.

One thing I selfishly appreciated as an adult who loves reading YA, is that it is never mentioned what any of their ages are. I obviously made them a little older in my mind than they probably were but that’s fine! It just made it easier for me reading about these young people having to do these horrible things (because when isn’t there death and treachery out on the seas) in order to survive if I was able to picture them a little older, even though let’s face it, it isn’t really it works.
I loved the crew of the Marigold, especially West for obvious reasons, and loved that even though they wanted nothing to do with Fable at first, that they eventually ended up becoming the family she always had wanted.

There’s quite the little cliffhanger at the end which has me dying for more, too. Basically, if you are in any way interested in a GOOD FUCKING BOOK, pick this one up. Lol, sorry this is my first almost full review in months and I am just really excited about it.

“What?” The breath hitched in my chest.
But his smile turned sad. ”I have thought about you every single day since that day. Maybe every hour. I’ve counted down the days to go back to the island, and I pushed us into storms I shouldn’t have because I didn’t want to not be there when you woke up. I didn’t want you to wait for me. Ever. Or to think I wasn’t coming back.”


Um also, I added this to my “I will go down with ship” shelf and I’m wondering if that’s bad luck for our characters in more than one way, lol, oops.

Quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for allowing me to read a copy of this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion. ♥

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep) by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep) by Adrienne YoungThe Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep)
by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Review:

Ohhhhh boy that ending. Of all of the books to have an open ending WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE THIS ONE?!?! Even though it actually makes perfect sense with how the rest of the book was set up, that doesn’t mean I have to like it!!!

Okay, soooo I only recently, and yes, finally, got around to reading Sky in the Deep. I obviously LOVED it and immediately ran to request this ARC. The cover is SO gorgeous and I was so excited to read anything else that this woman had to offer, especially if I was able to get any kind of glimpse at my other babies. I was a little skeptical when I saw quite a few so/so reviews and wondered how that could be. Now that I’ve finished, I get it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a very solid 4 stars for me. Like a few of the other reviewers out there, the actual story didn’t grab me like the previous one did. As I mentioned in that review, I waited to read SITD so for long because Viking stuff makes me nervous. I do NOT like reading about excessive, gory violence at all. When that story was more about two groups forming a peace and two people from each side slowly falling in love, I couldn’t have been happier. This on the other hand, had allllll kinds of blood, violence, and gore. It hurt. It was hard to read. And while you could tell that the story would probably end with Tova and Halvard getting together, it was not a main thread of this story.

No, this story, even though it had viewpoints from both Tova and Halvard, was about Tova. It was about fate, and her past, and their future. I thought that the way Young set up Tova’s Truthtongue heritage and abilities was super interesting and well done. I have always loved reading about Fate and how different people thing it rules their life. Look at this quote:

“Why did you help me?” I asked, my voice softening.
She looked surprised at the question, studying my face before she answered.
“Because you’re not supposed to die.”
“If I’m not supposed to die, then I won’t.”

She searched my eyes, making me feel unsteady on my feet again. “That’s not how fate works.”


I love that in Tova’s world, even if something is supposed to happen, or fated to happen, there are a million different forces at work based on people’s decisions that could change how a certain event could take place or change a person’s life. It’s delicious to wrap your mind around.

Other than kind of being bummed about the romance and also being kind of emotionally burned out by the violence and the way in which Tova was treated by the Svell I was a little…thrown off by the flashbacks. I really felt like I was missing something when I was reading them. I get that Tova’s set up her past and showed some big events but I felt like I was confused about why we also got a glimpse into Halvard’s past at that same point in time. I couldn’t make any connections, personally. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention? But I really just felt like I was missing something big.

Either way, even though I was a tad disappointed by the plot of this book, it was still GOOD. Young’s writing is phenomenal and I will continue to read anything she puts out.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday books for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
 

BOOK REVIEW: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne YoungSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

“THIS IS A GRIPPING STORY, RICHLY TOLD.” —Renée Ahdieh, New York Times bestselling author of Flame in the Mist
"FIERCE, VIVID, AND VIOLENTLY BEAUTIFUL.” —Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
“A STUNNING DEBUT” —Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
“BLEAK BEAUTIFUL AND DEADLY” —Traci Chee, New York Times bestselling author of The Reader
“WHOLLY UNIQUE AND INSTANTLY ADDICTIVE” —Kerri Maniscalco, New York Times bestselling author of Hunting Prince Dracula
“HEARTRENDING, HEART-MENDING” —Kayla Olson, bestselling author of Sandcastle Empire

“Does it hurt?” He leaned closer.
My stomach dropped, pulling my heart down with it and the pulse in my veins beat unevenly. He was too close to me.
I stood, the bench scraping on the stone beneath us. He looked up at me, and I tried to find something to say. But there was too much. It was all buried too deep. I couldn’t reach it.
“Everything hurts,” I whispered.


Hollllyyyyy BLEEP. Guys. GUYS. I started this in audio ON A WHIM yesterday because I needed something new and honestly it was one of the first books that was available on Overdive as I was scrolling through. I hate admitting this but I actually got a copy of this in eARC form from Netgally but got busy and pushed it aside (obviously) and am only just now reviewing it. I’m a terrible person. BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER RIGHT?! Especially after this glowing review that’s trying to burst out of me.

“I feel like…” I caught the sob in my chest and swallowed it, suddenly embarrassed. He leaned in closer to me. 
“Like what?” 
My eyes ran over his face. The scruff on his jaw. The dark lashes around his blue eyes. “Like I’m a flame about to burn out.” 
My voice was so thin it sounded like I could reach out and break it with my fingers. “Like I’m going to disappear.”


I think I also might have put this off because I thought that the Viking aspect might be too much. I’m not a person who loves that extra dose of violence that Vikings are sure to always provide. I mean it’s common knowledge. Rage and duty and honor practically runs through their veins. They are warriors through and through and this book did indeed have it’s fair share of visceral, gory scenes. However, it’s more than that. It’s about family and love and realizing that someone you’ve been taught to hate all your life might just be the person who is going to save you. 

Like I loved the entire process that Eelyn goes through throughout the entire book. From a proud, I’d rather die than be in a room sharing breath with a Riki, stance to a hmm they are kind of similar to my own people, to okay, um, now I’m in love with one and I can accept that my brother is now one, lol. I loved seeing Fiske’s relationship with Iri, and how Inge took him in as one of her own. How right after she came to be with them, how Halvard was always kind to her and wanted to impress her and learn things from her. I mean this really is a book about family in every sense of the word imaginable. Family doesn’t have to be blood to be family and Fiske and Iri were a perfect example of this. 

Fiske in general was just…a treat. I don’t know if I’d exactly call it hate to love…though I guess it was. ANYWAY I loved that progression as well. There was no insta love at all. It was a gradual, but inevitable thing and I just…*shivers* I love it so damn much. So many perfect scenes and lines come to mine I will definitely be re-reading this again in the future.

“I’ll go where you go.”
This time, the words were unyielding.


Finally…the writing. This writing is 100% on brand with what I love in a book. It made me feel every single emotion. Fear, anger, love, hurt, disgust. And my heart swelled. Boy did it swell. There were so many lines of just pure feeling that enveloped me and carried me away. Since having my daughter there have been few times where I have pushed my valuable sleep aside to stay up reading and this was one of those times. I honestly probably could have finished it all in one day but I didn’t want my tiredness to impact me loving the ending. ASKLGNSEKVSLIEHGE. So yeah. This was an excellent book and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the next.

“Ond eldr,” I whispered his people’s battle cry against his lips. Breathe fire.

BOOK REVIEW: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

BOOK REVIEW: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne YoungSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

My heart pulsed in my veins as the fear pressed down on me, making me feel heavier. It was terrifying—that feeling—like there was something tying me to him. Because if one of us fell into the darkness, the other would too.

Ugh, Guyssss, I keep writing other reviews before this one!!! WHAT. IS. MY. DEAL. Has to be the weather-that’s the only plausible excuse, honestly. Lol. But, really, how can I put into words all the wonderfully conflicted feelings I..ahem..felt while reading this book?

I tried to summon her to me—that Eelyn who would choose her people over anything else. I searched for her within myself, but she was different now. I was different. And it was something that was already done. Something I couldn’t change.

I’ll admit that it took me a minute to truly give myself over, to really immerse, because I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ll say up front that I hate the animal sacrifice shit. I HATE THAT. No matter how small the part, it always twinges my heart-it’s not okay, it’ll never be okay. But, as you can see, I gave this a 5, so I’ll shut up now.

It was what we’d been taught our entire lives—vegr yfir fjor—honor above life.

So why a 5? Easy. Enemies to lovers. Perilous. Hero saves heroine (damsel in distress woot woot!) multiple times. Family bonds. EPIC FINAL BATTLE SCENE OMG (how do so many authors screw this up?). And…I’m sorry…that slow burn romance. I AM TRASH FOR IT, OKAY?! It all added up into a symphony of chaos of epic proportions, and, at some point, I was hooked.

I sat down on the cot, curling up on my side and tried to stay quiet as I wept. But the thing writhing inside me was too angry to be calmed. It was too hurt to be hushed. It was a living, breathing thing and it was trying to swallow me whole. And maybe it would. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore and only the sound of the fire remained.

I also have always loved books that have that day to day activity stuff. I really have. Especially recently: This. Outlander. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. KIND OF Diviners. I just have really taken to it. Back a few years ago I’d have been sooooo booooored with all these books where not enough happens and we have to rely on character fueled story-lines. Now, if I find a fantasy where there’s action and then day to day stuff? I am SO SO SO addicted and done for. It’s the weirdest freaking thing.

Something sounded deep inside my chest. Something grinding, breaking against me, like the crack of an avalanche. Something so desperate and angry that it could tear me open.

I don’t think I’m doing this book justice, but I just have so many feelings, yet I can’t explain them. I want to be clear that it had its issues (see above), but just shined too bright for me to not fall hard for it. Like, okay, the brother situation. She needs to grow up a little-after a certain point, it is what it is-take the opportunity and run with it-or pout and lose him in a different way. I think people would disagree with me, but it got repetitive and it was a bit much at times. Then, also, the way she talked about being loyal to her God, like it’s even her choice? At some point, again, I got tired of hearing about how she would be forsaken because she was forced into doing things she didn’t want to do. I couldn’t relate to that. And, at times, the writing, when it was descriptive…lost me. I can’t explain it-I just didn’t always flow with it correctly, and I do that sometimes. It’s a reader error, and I know that, I just have a specific type of writing I love. And, while this bordered on close to perfect to what I like, it lacked the flow I love most.

I stared at the floor. “Is there anything Fiske wouldn’t do for Iri?”
“He loves Iri more than he loves himself, but this isn’t about Iri anymore.”

But, TRULY, these were my only complaints, because everything else was so epic. Fitz was so wonderfully loyal to his family. So kind-hearted. Fierce. Devoted. Heroic. Vengeful on her part-he seeks justice in a way that…ugh, be still my heart. He saved her even when he hated her and feared she’d take a member of his family. The amount of love I have for him is immeasurable, even as I’m too tired to write this review-I’m doing him a great injustice, and it breaks my heart. But, just know, the way he falls for her and does everything in his power to protect her from those who mean her harm-even people he has known his whole life-it makes my heart swell.

He was right. But I wanted to say no. To ask why. I wanted to run as far from Fela as I could. As far from the deep whisper inside of me that spoke when Fiske looked at me the way he looked at me now. The way he did at the river. Like he knew something I didn’t.

And, finally, that last battle scene. Not only was it super well-written, but the way the heroine and hero try to watch out for each other, as they fight separate sides on the battle-I can’t even. Hands down one of my top favorite scenes in this book. I won’t mention the ones that make me sound masochistic, but I will say-one scene, where we (Haha SHE-we knew, a while ago) find out he is in love with her, is one of the most heart-stopping and beautiful scenes I’ve ever read. The vivid imagery and the breathlessness of the moment make your heart yearn and ache, and the vulnerability-both of the heart and of the ice they stand on-it’s indescribable, the feeling you get. So you just have to read it.

And that was the way of it. Things belonging where they didn’t. Like two night skies on a frozen lake. One looking down from above and one looking up from the deep.

It took me forever to read it, but I’m so glad I did. Epic beyond words with a wonderfully dense, yet not overdone, story-line, I’d be happy to read another of this author’s books in the future. I just hope the next hero can be like Fitz, too! And, ya know, enemies to lovers again!

*********************

Action-packed, slow-burn, enemies-lovers romance, and a story where even the strongest heroine can be a damsel in distress (like, fav thing EVER)…this book won me over whole-heartedly.

RTC!

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