A review by bookforthought
Namesake, by Adrienne Young

adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I read the first book in this duology, Fable, last year and I loved it so much it easily found its way on my best of 2020 list. So as you can probably imagine, I was equal parts excited for Namesake and terrified to read it out of concern that it wouldn't meet my now very, very high expectations. But, while in a sense it didn't, I still ended up really enjoying Namesake as well.

Namesake picks up exactly where Fable left off, which would have been perfect if I'd read these straight after one another. Because obviously I didn't, despite knowing that my memory is just not good enough for me to try stunts like this, it took me a minute to actually remember who some of the secondary characters were and what their deal was. Once I'd caught up, Namesake started flowing as easily as Fable had, and I was soon immersed in this world again.

Without going into too much detail to avoid spoilers, this book shows a new side to Fable. Where in the previous book the focus was on Fable looking for (and finding) her family and her place in the world, this time it's all about holding on to what she has - and as such, the stakes have never been higher. There was a lot more politics as well, and plenty of discussions featuring trade routes and regulations. I actually appreciated this as it helped flesh out the world even more and added depth to most of what we'd learned in the previous book. But don't worry! There was still plenty of deviousness, treachery and backstabbing to keep me on my toes, as the characters continue being their usual murderous selves.

The characters were actually what let me down a bit in this book, sadly. I had loved the interactions and the Marigold crew in the previous book and was really looking forward to a greater development of those characters and their dynamics in the sequel. Unfortunately, this didn't really happen. For the most part, we actually followed a completely new set of characters (aside from Fable) and, when the Marigold crew finally made an appearance, all they did was argue, leaving me with close to zero new development.

West was probably the biggest letdown, as he displayed really horrible behaviour towards everyone, continuing in this even after he was called out on it and explicitly asked to stop. I did enjoy getting to know and re-evaluating some secondary characters from the previous book who had space to shine here, and to my surprise, previously horrible Koy and Saint actually became my new faves. As much as I love found family tropes, the father-daughter scenes in this book were hands down the best and absolutely unbeatable.

Keeping up with the ruthlessness and darkness of the previous book, Namesake was a highly satisfying conclusion to this duology. Even though some of the characters didn't quite live up to the previous book, there was plenty here to keep me entertained and turning the pages way into the night.

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