Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review of Fever Crumb

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb-nearly the only person she's ever known-to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she's been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London? Haunting, arresting, and astonishingly original, Fever Crumb will delight and surprise readers at every fast-paced, breathless turn.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Teenagers and adults with a sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian bent
High point:  Fever Crumb and Dr. Crumb
Low point: Supporting cast
Reader maturity: 10+

Fever Crumb follows fourteen year old Fever Crumb as she's sent away from the only home she's ever known to work for a former Engineer. While away from her haven, she learns about her past and that she's more than she ever could have imagined.

After I received Fever Crumb for review, I discovered that it is intended as a prequel to the Hungry City Chronicles, which I have never read. I was concerned that I would be completely lost during Fever Crumb, but I needn't have worried. It stands alone perfectly well, and while reading the Hungry City Chronicles may enhance the experience, the novel is entertaining and explanatory enough to enjoy without doing so.

Being of a scientific bent myself, I chuckled several times during this book. The middle-aged male Engineers are dry and unintentionally funny. Fever herself has her moments of comedy;  she's rational to a fault, which may seem absurd to the reader, but it's endearing. Having never struggled with emotions before--believing them to be useless--Fever makes a few mistakes as she works to figure out who she truly is inside after learning that the memories in her brain might not be hers.

The Scriven seemed to be a terrifying people, but the common folk of London were almost as terrifying in their intent of wiping out the Scriven at the expense of the innocents. I would've liked to have learned more about the Scriven and the Movement that opposes London, but those may be topics explored in chronologically later novels.

This is a great novel for younger readers;  all of the so-called swearing is in futuristic terminology. For example, the denizens of London worship an ancient deity named Hari Potter. Fever Crumb is filled with such puns as everyday language for the common Londoners, much to my amusement. Older readers will enjoy the story as well; it's thoughtfully constructed and complicated enough to feel meaty. After this taste, I'm going to try and add the Hungry City Chronicles to my collection.

Title:  Fever Crumb
Author:  Philip Reeve
Genre:  Teen Science Fiction
Year:  2010
Book Source:  Won an uncorrected proof from Goodreads.com

1 comment:

  1. I have not read that much of sci-fi but your review is making me want to pick this book up! :) I have awards for you over at my blog :)