Book Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Namesake by Adrienne Young

Posted March 3, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments



by Adrienne Young

Series: Fable #2
Publisher: Wednesday Books on March 16, 2021
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC, Gay, LGBTQIAP+
Content Warnings: Kidnapping

Rating: ★★★

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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.


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Namesake was, in a word, underwhelming.

I loved the atmosphere and the edge of adventure in Fable – it’s what made the book such a winner for me in 2020.  Namesake suffered from a lot of quick turns and shallow plot lines.  I got the overall sense that there was a lot of different things that Young wanted to do in this book, and rather than just pick one, she tried them all.  I suppose for some perspectives the shifting plot direction could be categorized as a twist, but for me, they were too anticlimactic for that.

We start with one of our baddies from Fable who kidnaps our girl for some nefarious purpose.  His treatment of her super casual, like “hey, thanks for being on my ship, now you’re in charge of a thing!”.  This whole introductory bit is quickly shown as irrelevant as its a vehicle to get us to the real villain of Namesake, but for me, it felt like a lot of wasted time.  Once we get to real purpose, there’s still a dance between goals, and most of the plotting happens off the page.  While I understand this is intended so Young could do a grand reveal later in the book, for the reader, it felt a little all over the place.  I knew things were happening behind the scenes, but I felt like nothing was happening on the page, and I got bored.

Our characters haven’t grown since Fable, either.  The ways they have changed are abrupt and awkward – displayed as announcements or rambling intentions.  The romance really fumbles for me, too.  I know much of the community really enjoys this aspect of the duology, but I thought the romance was barely present in Fable (which I liked).  In Namesake, romance takes up a lot more space, and I still don’t feel the chemistry between the two characters.  Certainly not at a level that explains some of their choices.

My favorite part of this book was the repaired relationship between two of the characters near the end, although that, too, stumbled and felt awkward.  Overall, Namesake lacked the elements that made Fable special – focusing too much on trade routes and maritime politics and grand gestures than the intimacy of the sea and the Marigold’s crew.  I’m sure my take on this book will be an unpopular one, but I think Namesake is overhyped and under-delivered.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★
Plot: ★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★
Writing: ★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

3 Star Rating


Did you read and enjoy Fable?  Are you looking forward to Namesake?  If you’ve read it, let me know your favorite character from Fable in the comments!

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