Sometimes I wonder if I read too many dystopian novels, but then I sternly remind myself that, no, THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE.
The Fever King by Victoria Lee did not fail to fill that little hole in my heart that was in desperate want of words written about the downfall of some post-apocalyptic world filled with troubled, yet likable, characters. Wait – did I just give away the plot of half the fiction novels currently being written? I think I might have.
This novel was a very quick read for me (three days!), which by my standards means it was a hit. There was so much going on and so much I wanted to know from reading just the first chapter that I didn’t want to put it down. I found myself literally racing back home from class, throwing my things to the floor, and getting cozy in my reading spot in record time just so I could finish the book.
While I was hooked from the start, there were a few things that, as I was reading, left me a little disappointed and unsatisfied. You really root for the characters, but their development, particularly Noam’s, the main protagonist, falls a little flat. He has all these noble causes that are progressive (and that are eerily similar to current points of issue in the United States), but that feels forced on his character. The secondary characters, aside from maybe Dara (!!!) play almost no role in the plot and just kind of exist to exist. This works because the plot is so action-driven and complex (although at times confusing), but I wish there had been a little more substance to those other characters who had the potential to be really interesting and integral to the story.
I am hopeful that the sequel, The Electric Heir, will flesh out these characters some more and especially continue the character arcs for Noam and Dara who really made The Fever King a good read for me. And while I enjoyed the book, I can understand why some would not, so I won’t recommend The Fever King for everyone. However, if you can get into it and enjoy a politically driven and relevant novel, this would be the perfect one to try.
I give The Fever King four big stars. It’s hard for me to give books poorer ratings because I am always able to pick things out of novels that I really enjoyed, even when there are some things I wish could have been better. But I have confidence that others will be able to do this as well, and since The Fever King is full of many things that make it compelling and intense I would encourage other readers to give this book a try too and to focus on the qualities that make it a really exciting read.