A review by camiclarkbooks
Namesake, by Adrienne Young
adventurous mysterious medium-paced
- Plot- or character-driven? Plot
- Strong character development? No
- Loveable characters? It's complicated
- Diverse cast of characters? Yes
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
We jump right back in to the story, so abruptly it’s like we flipped to the next chapter of “Fable” rather than started the sequel. And, even more so than in the first book, the titular heroine finds herself in so many terrible situations—one right after the other. There were so many that it was difficult to stay invested, particularly when Fable didn’t seem all that concerned.
Fable’s constant internal monologue tells us exactly what she’s thinking and how she’s upset by the different strokes of bad luck, but ultimately she reacts very passively. She allows the situation to play out rather than doing much about it. Alternatively, she allows the other characters to steer her through these unfortunate events.
Since we learned in the first book that she had survived four years—alone—on the island of Jeval, it seems that Fable would be more of a fighter than she is. Her thoughts also don’t reveal that’s she’s given up after so many years of fighting and that she’s decided to go with the current either. Fable just doesn’t have much agency.
Although I was disappointed by the main character, there were several very interesting characters that were introduced. Holland, the feared gem merchant that was mentioned in the first book, appears about 1/3 of the way through the book. At her appearance, the book began to pick up and kept my interest more than the first few chapters had.
Other side characters from the first book appeared in “Namesake” and were ultimately more interesting than Fable and West, our main characters.
SpoilerAlthough we barely saw it, even the love story between Fable and West feels bland in comparison to the love story that potentially developed between Willa and Koy. We just glimpse a few brief allusions to something between them possibly developing. For our main love story between Fable and West, we spent a lot of time rehashing that he had done bad things for Saint, and that the darkness had a hold of him, which concerned Fable, but not enough to do anything about her concern.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the writing. Adrienne Young is a master at describing the different scenes the book takes us to. When Fable was dredging underwater, I would find myself stopping what I was doing to listen to the rich descriptions of the underwater world the character was in because the words were so beautiful and vibrant. Even simple description’s of a character’s clothes were beautifully detailed enough that I could picture the scenes perfectly.
Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I did. “Namesake” is very much a plot driven book rather than a character driven book. But the plot is constant, there’s no break between anything. We can’t catch a breath before Fable is pushed into another problem. Yet she reacts passively to almost every situation she finds herself in. She’s very astute and introspective, but lacks agency. The book is beautifully written, with every scene described in impeccable, rich details that help to insert the reader in to the story. But kt isn’t quite enough to mask how bland the characters have become since the first book.
Minor: Blood, Death of parent, Injury/injury detail, Kidnapping, Death, Abandonment, and Murder