Fable is 17 at the opening of the book and barely surviving as a dredger on the fictional island of Jeval. The daughter of a notorious trader, Fable keeps her identity a secret to protect herself and the father who dumped her on the island four years earlier. He told her if she could find her way off the island that it would prove to him she could survive life as a trader and he’d give her “what was hers.” So Fable works daily to survive with the goal of getting off the island. With the help of a young trader, Fable gets off the island and sets a course to find her father.
West is the captain of the Marigold, a small trading ship with an even smaller crew. Fable doesn’t really know him. She only knows that if it wasn’t for him, she’d have died a long time ago. Trading with him is the only thing that kept her going the last four years. Now she is on his ship. I like West. He’s loyal to his crew, but beyond that we don’t really know. It’s clear that he has feelings for Fable from the start (why else would he let her on his ship?) and he’s hiding something. Beyond that, West is a mystery to me. I like him, I want to love him, but we will see.
The rest of the crew on the Marigold I love, Willa especially. Each of the crew members bring something different to the story, and each bond with Fable in their own way. I found myself rooting for them to all get along and for Fable to just stay with them, but her goal is not the same as theirs. She is determined to find Saint, her father, the notorious tradesman who rules the Narrows.
Let’s take a sec to just talk about the world-building here. This world seems to be based off the Carribean and time period that revolves around pirates and traders. The best way to describe the traders here are as pirates, at least that’s my opinion. I really pictured them as cutthroat and ruthless. The markets they trade in remind me a little of the markets described in port towns during the colonial days of America. The vivid imagery used to describe both the ports and the diving that Fable does as a dredger put me right in the action. I could feel the cool breeze coming off the water and smell the salt in the air.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I decided to give it 4.5 stars (rounded to 5). The only reason I knocked it down a half star is predictability. I had most of the story figured out well before the end. However, that did not lessen my enjoyment. I adored this story and cannot wait for more set in this world. If you enjoy fantasy, slow burn (and I do mean SLOW) romance, and adventure on the high seas, you are in for a treat.
-Fantastic characters and world-building