Home was a ship that was at the bottom of the sea, where my mother’s bones lay sleeping.
I had to pick this up for the badass female MC and the pirate ship energy. Not to mention that tagline ‘Trader. Fighter. Survivor.’ I love it. This wasn’t quite the book I was hoping for, but it was definitely good enough to get me reading the final book in the duology when it releases.
Rating: 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Titan Books for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Content Warnings: blood, violence, grief, death (parental), child abandonment, murder, mutilation.
About the book:
For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she 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.
What did I think?
For piratey found family vibes this book is an impeccable pick. I adored the dynamics onboard the ship and the treasure hunt style storyline was so much fun. I really enjoyed the way that it could be so character focused, with the crew learning to work together. I’m a sucker for protagonists joining established groups and having to learn where they fit, so that worked so well for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sold on the romance. It was obvious from the very start, which meant it was a little boring to read the will-they, won’t-they and ultimately the barriers stopping them from being together didn’t really make sense. The idea that being together would put a target on their backs made perfect sense to me, but we’re being sold this found family dynamic, so surely that’s true of all the crew. And besides that, there were close relationships and couples aboard the ship anyway, so I didn’t really understand why we were being told they couldn’t be together. What did work really, really well for me was the focus on complicated family relationships. The relationship between Fable and Saint was fraught and hard and I absolutely loved it. It guided Fable’s motivations so well and made her feel so authentic and real the whole way through. She’s a fantastic protagonist with flexible morals and clear goals (my favourite kind) and I do want to read more about her story.
I do wish the gem sage thing had had more of a focus. I assume that it’ll be a big thing in Namesake (the sequel) but for now it was a little strange. It was mentioned so casually the first time that for a moment I assumed I was supposed to already know about it, and then it flickered between being mentioned frequently and disappearing. I still don’t totally understand it or its role in the plot, I would have liked it to have more of a presence so it didn’t feel so much like it was just leading to the sequel.
The ending of this book was fantastic though and I found myself absolutely absorbed in the final few chapters. Overall the book was super atmospheric and the world was really interesting. I will absolutely be picking up Namesake at some point to find out what happens next, so if you’re looking for an easy to read book with pirate vibes and found family, this series is a good pick.
Release Date: 26th January 2021