That I’d loved him with the same fire that I’d hated him.

I feel like I keep coming back to this thought with Fable and subsequently, Namesake. And it’s all centered around Saint. While I am disappointed and sorry to say that my number one issues with Fable are not resolved in Namesake, I have to admit that the father/daughter story resonated with me. There’s a lot about Adrienne Young’s writing that pulls you in like a tide, gripping you in its current and refuses to let go. I don’t imagine this is a story that will leave me any time soon.

We will always have something to lose.

Namesake picks up in the precise moment that Fable leaves off, with our main character snatched away by Zola and his men. Her desperation to escape is only hardened by the perceived betrayal she feels at realizing the ship’s Navigator is none other than her father’s second-hand from her childhood, Clove.

Suddenly, Fable is left to believe that one of two men will come for her: her father or her lover.

This entire piece was fascinating to me. Simply parsing out the motivations for Saint and West was thoroughly engaging. I won’t include any spoilers, but let’s just say that I was right on both counts. Knowing the cores of these characters thus far, it’s a very simple and short path to determine what their goals are. Though both were predictable to me, one was certainly more enticing than the other.

This is the moment, of course, that I admit I remain thoroughly upset that we do not get more time inside West’s head. Yet, I still adore him to my very soul.

Like I was holding my breath, afraid…

I’m honestly no longer sure what I love most about West. But I find my heart jumping for joy every single time his character appears. He’s such a harsh character, one who seems certain of the worst at every turn. I wouldn’t say he’s quite prepared for it. Rather, I find West merely always ready to take the punches and put up a good fight.

This character, quite simply, is driven by love.

He’s consistent about it, too. It doesn’t matter which love of his we’re talking about, that love takes up his entire being and influences every one of his decisions. There’s something truly gut-wrenching about it. As a result, I find myself thrown into a whirlpool of emotions every time he makes a decision. His own life is chaotic, every choice put before him a result of that storm.

What’s most ironic about West is the fact that he remains shrouded in mystery, yet the more you get to know him you can clearly tell he wears his heart on his sleeve. I absolutely love this about him. My heart breaks and sores with him at every twist and turn. I breathe for him.

…somehow I’d known deep down that he would come for me.

I remain eternally frustrated by Saint’s motivations. I understand them, of course, but they could have been so much better. What really struck me about Namesake and Saint’s role in this story has less to do with Saint, himself, and more to do with his daughter. While reading the first book, my biggest frustration behind his characterization was the simple fact that nothing aside from his own ambition resulted as the excuse for his behavior toward Fable. I still think the book would have been better had there been.

That said, Saint is conniving. His decisions are calculated, all perfectly tailored to play the long game of increasing his power. You’ll likely remember power was a very central theme in the first book. This theme remains in Namesake, but in a different way. Instead of the kind of power most picture in these cases, that of influence and money, Namesake calls attention to a different sort of power; emotional.

This theme is permeated in every thought and choice of this story. It’s there in West but, more importantly, it’s there in Fable.

Despite his unfailing abandonment of her, Fable cannot let go of her father. He deserts her, he uses her, and yet when his life is threatened, Fable is willing to give up everything to save it. And sure, there are minor moments in which love for her homeland seeps through, but the crux of this story is the power that love holds over us.

…you and I have cursed ourselves…

There’s a natural path forward for stories like this one. I don’t think any reader, really, will be surprised with how the conflict created by yet another with power resolves itself in this book. As you learn who these characters are, their decisions never really shock you. Yet, it’s always a little shocking when you realize how strongly you’re able to feel for the characters. There are pieces of us that create power struggles we will never truly overcome.

Love, more than anything else, will tie us down so long as it holds us in its grasp.

It’s a wonderful curse, but a curse nonetheless. And I think it hits us in many different ways. Whether it is because of a familial connection, a romantic inclination, or a kinship based on shared experiences it gives and takes power at every turn. Young captured these elements more perfectly than I could ever have anticipated. We see it from Fable, to West, to Saint, and even to Koy; I can’t say I ever imagined that last one cropping up, but bravo.

You’re Jevali.

There’s one final piece to this story that follows you through it. It’s another that I caught onto early and ties directly into the book’s title. You’ll see the pieces fit together as you read, but the important piece to remember about this novel are those connections. They build over time and never quite release. Each moment, each person has an impact. And you’ll be forever captured in that embrace.

Namesake is an impressive novel. More than anything, I find my reverence for it tied to the expert connections built between a central theme and the novel’s characters. The hold of these emotions is visceral in every which way. Quite frankly, I don’t know how anyone could leave this series not having been captured by it. And perhaps I simply connect with these central ideas more than most. Perhaps the character emotion is so real for me because I’ve felt it myself.

Whatever it is, I’m caught forever within the swirls of this current.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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