THE DARK FABLE, by Katherine Harbour, Bloomsbury YA, Jan. 30, 2024, $19.99 (young adult, ages 14 and up)
A secret group recruits a young woman to join them on dangerous heists in The Dark Fable, by Katherine Harbour.
Evie Wilder is an orphan who has gone through most of her life unnoticed . . . until she’s caught up in a dramatic heist and captures the attention of the Dark Fable. They have chosen her for a reason: she can turn invisible. This skill would make Evie a treasured asset to the legendary group of thieves known for spiriting away obscure and occult artifacts.
Evie cannot resist their allure and is eager to join this newfound family. But she discovers there are more skeletons in the Dark Fable’s past than she could have ever imagined. And these secrets might be the answer to her own tragic past.
No one is who they seem to be and the price of uncovering the Dark Fable’s cryptic history just might be fatal . . . —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury YA
The Dark Fable lives up to its title. The book is dark. Despite all the opulence that’s flung around, there’s not a lot of joy. In fact, all the characters seem to be searching, yet never really finding it.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It lends itself to flawed characters and incredible risk-taking. And it allows author Katherine Harbour to push creative boundaries in this fantasy.
There’s a lot going on in The Dark Fable, which can make it a bit difficult to pinpoint place and time — sometimes it feels contemporary and sometimes it feels like stepping back in time. The book has an otherworldliness feel that can be unsettling.
The heists themselves are the highlight of The Dark Fable. That’s where Harbour really hits her stride. The action in these bits makes the book worth reading, and there are a few twists along the way that refocus interest.
The Dark Fable isn’t as fast moving as you’d expect a heist novel to be. I found myself reading a few chapters and then walking away for a bit. I suggest checking it out from the library prior to purchasing to make sure it’s a good fit.
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