The Fever King is a complex and immersive fantasy novel with sci-fi and dystopian elements that kept me on the edge of my seat.
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.
If you couldn’t tell from the four-star rating, I really enjoyed reading The Fever King.
For one thing, it has a super interesting and complex world. There are people with magical powers (called “witchings”), and these magical powers can be controlled with science (like, for example, in order to learn telekinesis, you need to learn physics, etc., which is a pretty cool idea) and are obtained through a magic virus. The book is set over a century in the future, and it was super interesting reading about this possible future that the author dreamed up.
The book’s portrayal of this future isn’t just focused on magic, though: it has many political elements. In this future, the United States has split up into multiple separate countries, and the novel brings up issues of genocide, xenophobia and mistreatment of refugees, and corruption. I personally found that the incorporation of politics made the storyline even more interesting and complex.
Another thing about this book that’s complex is the characters and their relationships. These are the three major characters:
🌟 Noam, the bisexual, Jewish, half-Latinx protagonist who comes from a family of refugees. He’s feisty and brave and totally committed to being an activist for immigrant rights and also kind of morally gray—a bit of an antihero. I really loved Noam, and I appreciated that unlike many characters in cliché dystopian novels, he isn’t a total genius prodigy—he actually has to work hard and learn things, especially because he dropped out of school when he was young to help support his family.
🌟 Dara, the mysterious roommate at Noam’s new government school for witchings who has secret powers and seems to hate Noam…
🌟 Calix Lehrer, Noam and Dara’s complex and enigmatic teacher who’s basically immortal. You never really understand what his motivations are, which makes his relationship with Noam quite suspenseful.
I think that these complicated characters that Victoria Lee has created are the reason why most readers won’t be able to put down The Fever King. The author also did a great job writing-wise in my opinion—I especially enjoyed Noam’s inner monologue. He felt like a real teenager who’s confused and angry.
The Fever King is about so many things: magic, activism, moral ambiguity, loss, trauma, a hate-to-love romance, and when you put it all together, you have, in my opinion, a great book. The only downsides were that it could get a tad confusing as far as the history and the passage of time, but overall I think that The Fever King is a very well-written story.
Diversity Rep: main character who is Jewish, bisexual, and half-Latinx; two major characters who are non-straight, including one who’s a POC and one who’s Jewish
Warnings: please be aware of the content warnings for this book, which can be found on the author’s website, here.
You can enter for the chance to win a copy of The Fever King HERE! (Make sure to enter before the giveaway closes on March 31st, 2019.)
You can find the schedule for the rest of the blog tour for this book here!
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.
Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
Do you plan on reading The Fever King? Chat with me in the comments!
Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on the blog tour and for providing me with a review copy of this book! This in no way affected my review.