Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, LGBT+
I have received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Fever King is the story of Noam, the son of two refugees who’s trying to keep what is left of his family together. When he’s struck with magic virus, a sickness that has wiped out most of the previously-US population, he’s the only survivor and wakes up in a mass of dead bodies. But now that Noam has survived magic, he has a power of his own – a rare, powerful magic that the government wants to use.
The Fever King has been getting lots of hype, and I was very curious about this novel, although I’m normally not drawn to young adult sci-fi. Let me first get the rating out of the way: I did not enjoy the writing style of the author, it really did not agree with me. But I am drawn to literary fiction and adult fantasy books, so that is not a surprise. Secondly, the plot felt so predictable most of the time and I kept being not surprised at all by the twists. So I ended up taking two stars from my rating because of those reasons.
This book is amazing. It has a strong message on immigration, law enforcement, racism, abuse and other themes. It’s dark, gritty and unflinching, and I was surprised by how much violence, drugs and abuse this book had, considering it was young adult. I’m not a fan of having teens consuming drugs being portrayed like “cool, although self-destructive” on a book for teens, though.
The story is just so interesting that, despite the reservations I described above, I kept turning pages and holding my breath to see what happened next. The politics in this book are complex and it’s where this book shines: the morally grey areas of politics, of creating change in the world, the cost of a life versus the cost of many. It’s not a book that ties everything in a nice little bow, it allows the characters to suffer for the decisions they make, even when they make it for good reasons. It allows them to not get over those decisions in a matter of a couple pages.
It really speaks of how good this book is that I didn’t connect to any of the characters but I was cheering for some of them, suspicious of all of them, and careful to make assumptions. I have complicated feelings for most of them, and they’re not all black-and-white. To me, that is great character building.
I want to see the other characters’ powers and see how the story goes. Also, technopathy is such a cool ability! Gosh, I wish I was a technopath.