If you’re picking up Adrienne Young’s The Last Legacy in the hopes of more of the female-focused high seas adventure that was the hallmark of the author’s recent Fable duology, I feel like I have to tell you straight out that you’re going to be disappointed.
The Last Legacy, despite technically existing in the same universe, has almost nothing in common with those other two books, and often feels as though it might have fared better as a story if it were allowed to truly stand on its own.
Because here’s the thing: The Last Legacy, as a story in its own right, is actually pretty good! It’s got a great heroine and an entertaining plot about a girl trying to figure out how to survive in a family of con men and grifters who trying to go legit. It’s fast-paced and the pages positively fly by. But as an expansion of the world of Young’s Fable novels, it’s hard to see this story as anything other than disappointing.
There’s little of the sense of adventure that pervaded Fable and Namesake and though we spend time with the same Roth family that fan-favorite Auster both belonged to and escaped from, we learn little more about them than we already knew there. (They’re mean! And generally not great people! No one should want to stay with them!) I get the urge to make sure that The Last Legacy is a standalone novel – but it’s also not clear why it needed to be part of this universe in the first place?
There are a few throwaway references to characters like Holland the gem dealer who played such a pivotal role in Namesake and part of the disarray in Bastian’s merchant landscape is because of the events that happened in that novel. But, I know I cant’ be the only one who was hoping for more.
The story follows Bryn Roth, a member of the infamous Roth family that Fable readers will remember for their terrible treatment of Marigold crew member Auster. She’s been raised outside of Bastian by her aunt Sariah and taught all about what it means to be a lady of means. When she’s summoned home on her eighteenth birthday to take her rightful place among the family, Bryn believes this is her chance to finally claim the birthright she’s owed.
But in order to be taken seriously among the Roths, Bryn will have to earn her place as one of them. And to do so won’t just involve learning to tolerate her family’s crude and less than elegant behavior, she’ll have to get right down in the gutter with them as she tries to find leverage on their enemies and flirt with those they hope to make their friends.
Complicating things is Bryn’s attraction to the handsome family silversmith Ezra Finch, whose talent is well known and whose attitude toward her could hardly be called welcoming. Their ensuing romance is a fairly predictable enemeis to lovers affair, but the two characters have genuine chemistry, and Ezra has more hidden depths than his initial characterization might suggest.
On the whole, The Last Legacy is fast paced and fairly fun – if you go in knowing that this is a very different story from Young’s two previous efforts in this universe. Its scandals and social climbing likely won’t linger with you long (quite frankly, there are too many better books to read this Fall), but it’s a perfectly pleasant way to while away an afternoon.
The Last Legacy is available now. Let us know if you plan to give it a look!