The Dark Fable

Bloomsbury. Jan. 2024. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781547613748.
Gr 9 Up–Evie Wilder belongs to nobody. She squats in a horrible apartment and works menial jobs to scrape by in the seedier parts of LA. She is grieving the death of her younger brother and sister, who died at their father’s hand. At her catering gig she becomes embroiled in a high-end heist that brings her into contact with the mysterious and sophisticated young members of the Dark Fable, or La Fable Sombre (LFS). Loners and misfits, each member of the multinational group has a magic of their own. It turns out that Evie has a talent the group can use—the actual invisibility she so often craves. The LFS has existed for hundreds of years, stealing big-ticket items from Cleopatra, Leonardo, even Pandora. The crew whisks Evie into their realm of decadent parties, extravagant trips, and exotic locales. But Evie begins to wonder if some members are more interested in power and vengeance than theft. Her interaction and attraction to Jason Ra, a former member turned investigator, only increases her worries. The strong start and intriguing backstory quickly give way to rapid fire dialogue reminiscent of 1930s film repartee. Italics and exclamation points abound as the LFS, who all have numerous and confusing nicknames, race around the world fighting rival gangs and each other. A plot twist about Evie towards the end of the book is abrupt and underplayed.
VERDICT Point readers of fantasy in this vein to Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, or more recently, Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves.

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