For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Review: The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.


Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
~ Goodreads

Source: arc (& and finished copy) provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: I was immediately drawn to the characters of this book but the world/plot left me struggling to grasp things at first.

The Fever King is post apocalyptic/sci-fi that hits the ground running, while I was sputtering behind going huh? Our protagonist, Noam, is the son of Atlantia immigrants – living as a hacker, in Carolinia, and caring for his now despondent father. So far so good. I got that and to say that this plotline parallels our current political climate – would be an understatement.

There’s a virus that causes magic outbreaks mainly to immigrants seeking a better life in Carolinia. The infected die but a rare few present with magical powers. Something native Carolinians fear and try to protect themselves from by whipping themselves into a hysteria about immigrants and unleashing increasingly cruel methods to control them.

The children who present with magical powers, including Noam, who survives an outbreak, are brought in for training and are considered useful to the government. This is where I started to get confused.

The story bypasses the usual group training montages (although it does show how one channels their power and that was unique and cool) and I appreciated that . If you’ve read one training montage – you’ve read them all lol but it also kept me from getting to know the supporting characters and their struggles better and why people were being hurt outside the walls of the training facility but were treated well here.

There’s just a lot going on with the science/politics of it vs the personal aspect of the story. And teh personal side where The Fever King REALLY shines. This is a very character drive book.

Noam, Dara (another student and Noam’s love interest), and Calix, teacher/mentor, Minister, and Dara’s father have an extremely complicated dynamic and I was her for it!

It’s hard to get into without spoiling anything but the lines between hero and villain, savior and tormentor are frequently blurred. Lee does something really brilliant with her characters – presenting them as one thing but slowly revealing their past and an opposing view of their current actions so that it turns everything and on it’s head.

The morally grey areas are vast in The Fever King and while the first third made me feel confused and sometimes frustrated with the characters actions – it all came together beautifully and had me sprinting to the end to see how it would all turn out.

And boy was that an ending! I felt satisfied that it wrapped up the immediate story but it is kind of cliffhangery in that WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN?? way.

To be honest, I’m baffled by most sci-fi/fantasy worlds – so your mileage may vary on that aspect (although it totally makes sense in the end!) but I was in it more for the complexity; of the characters and their actions/relationships, the portrayal of trauma, mental health, political activism and LBGQ rep. Everything was so well done.

I love when an author is able to walk that line between right and wrong and make you question things so I’m looking forward to The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2).

*Also – there’s a lot of darkness in this book and Lee posted a content warning list on her blog if you would like to check that first here.

24 comments:

  1. I love books with a strong character focus, but I hate it when I feel lost in a science fiction story. I feel like they have the potential to be AMAZING, because it's an entirely new world, like fantasy (which I love), but I feel like aliens and science have to work harder to convince me to like them. They're blah and require much convincing. Don't get me wrong, science is super important (really loved The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros), but sometimes it's not fun to follow. I'm happy this one made sense in the end, and was good enough to make you want to continue the series.

    Lovely review, Karen! *hugs*
    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. I don't think this one was too bogged down in the sci-fi - more that it jumps right in and I'm SUPER slow on the uptake when it comes to new worlds/language lol It's definitely a *me* thing and why I don't read a lot of fantasy.

      The Fever King is much more focused on morality and politics with a touch of sci-fi. And really comes together SO WELL int he end.

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    2. Good to know! I love fantasy, and this sounds like a good sci-fi/fantasy mix.

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    3. It's more post apocalypse/sci-fi than fantasy but it has a bit of that vibe because of the magical elements. I think you'll like it.

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  2. SO I know that like 99% of the dystopia is US, but for once I'd like someone to mention what happened to the rest of the world ;)
    If this one does that then wohoo if not, what about me! Am I still alive? lol

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    1. Yeah - this is just US too but I feel that she did that purposely to parallel the politics of right now with Mexico but I can see how that would be frustrating.

      have you ever read World War Z? I know it's a zombie book but what I loved about it was that it is that it showed the crisis globally and how each government/people handled it.

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  3. I sometimes read this genre but not often. The book sounds really interesting and I loved reading your review, it got me interested in this book!

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    1. The character development/complexity in this one really won me over.

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  4. I don't read this type of book often but it sounds good.

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    1. It was better than I was expecting but I LOVE a good moral quandary lol

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  5. You had me worried for a moment, but I like character-driven books with a strong personal aspect over the political, so I think I'll be ok. And even though I get confused easily sometimes in books, I've learned to just roll with it when that happens lol.

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    1. I think it's just me - but I'm always confused when a book just jumps into a new setting. Even though it was the US that somehow makes it more confusing to me?? Like I keep comparing it to current Atlanta instead of *Atlantia* lol

      Yeah, I just roll with it too and hope it makes sense at some point, and in this case, it did.

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  6. Sounds like quite a few things in it that might drive me mad! Seriously, I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope the next one is good for you!

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  7. While the ending sounds great and bad because of the kinda cliffhanger, the story sounds really interesting.

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    1. It is...but the main plot was wrapped up. It was a cliffie but not a OMG I'm going to get stabby kind of cliffie lol

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  8. I feel like I have this unread on my Kindle (don't take my work for it, though, I have a lot of unread books on my Kindle). Good to see that although the first third of the book conufsed you some, glad it all came together by the end even if there was some cliffhangery drama going on. I think I'll have to get to reading this.

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    1. Ha! I think I have a lot of lost books on Kindle too.

      I really liked it in the end!

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  9. Sci-fi/Fantasy really can confuse me sometimes with the world building and rules. I'm glad the characters are really well done though, because that's something I love the most about books!

    -Lauren
    www.shotoingstarsmag.net

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    1. And the sci-fi stuff really came together in a way that totally made sense, and was interesting, to me.

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  10. As someone who loves sci-fi and fantasy books, maybe getting into the world and all of that would go better for me. But I am glad that the characters were so morally grey and addicting. That sounds promising to me :)

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    1. Yes, I'm sure you would because that's more of a ME thing lol

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  11. I've been seeing this book around a lot lately. I'll have to add it to Goodreads and wait for it to show up on Hoopla. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 👍✨

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  12. If feels like there's a lot brought out at the same time by the author where it could have been a slower burn and bring the readers into it that way. Thank you for sharing!

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