“Outbreaks of magic started all kinds of ways.”First line in The Fever King by Victoria Lee
Author: Victoria Lee
Published: March 1st 2019
Genre: YA Science Fiction Fantasy
Series: Book 1 in the Feverwake duology
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
The Fever King is the kind of book that isn’t perfect but I couldn’t help loving it anyway. The book initially caught my eye because it was set in the future but it also had magic. I think it’s rare to see a combination of the two and I just have to say that it worked really well.
The story takes place 100 years in the future in what was formerly known as North Carolina in the United States, now called Carolinia. Magical outbreaks have destroyed much of the land and have created huge groups of refugees. You see, magic isn’t only a good thing in this world. When you get infected with magic, you either get magical abilities or you die. Most people die.
It was very interesting way to create this refugee-issue that drew so many parallels our real world concerning the refugee crisis. I really liked how Lee incorporated this social commentary into the book. She clearly had something to say and I think that made the book turn out quite educational in that regard. I especially appreciated that frustration and passion about the issue we got through the main character Noam.
Noam is the character we follow throughout the whole book. He’s resourceful and passionate about his only goal which is to help the refugees anyway he can. Even though I didn’t absolutely love Noam, I do think he’s a great protagonist. He’s a well rounded character. The same can be said of many of the other characters altough there are a few who appear somewhat flat. However, it is a YA book so I would say that is to be expected.
Speaking of YA, I actually tried to find out whether this book is considered Young Adult or New Adult. All sources I found called it Young Adult but then I will definitely put it in the upper end of the category and leaning towards New Adult. These characters swear quite a lot and sex is also a prevalent theme although nothing too graphic. That’s it though. The narrative fits the Young Adult category and Noam is 16 years old so in that sense, the book is YA. Just be aware of those other things as well.
One thing that took my rating down a bit was the lack of information. The book uses a hard magic system (meaning it has rules) but doesn’t do a very good job of explaining it to the reader. I really want to know the reaches and limitations of the characters’ abilities to avoid the situation where they just solve a difficult problem by lifting a finger. It probably would turn a bit info-dumpy but I prefer that over the confusion I felt through the first half of the book.
Speaking of confusion, that beginning was really all over the place. It gave me the feeling that that specific beginning was just there to introduce us to so many things at once. The world. The characters. I was very confused by trying to remember everything and every name mentioned. However, when it settled down, I started enjoying the book immediately. It just wasn’t a great first impression.
To end this review, I want to recommend this book to the reader who enjoys YA fantasy and sci-fi and wants to read something a little more mature and serious without going into the adult section. It is also for the reader who enjoys a dystopian setting with a little bit of a fantasy twist. If you want all of this and a diverse read, I think you should read The Fever King.
There you have my thoughts on The Fever King. It was such a surprising read so I hope I at least have made you interested. How you read it already or do you plan to? Let me know in the comments. Have a great day!