I recently finished Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, after years of passing by it in my library as I straightened out the shelves and I have to say, this was such a weird book!
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?
As I said before, this was a weird book. I originally wanted to read Fever Crumb because I thought it was steam-punk and that I’d really enjoy Fever as a character. Well, the world Reeve has created isn’t quite steam-punk, in fact, Fever’s world is so far ahead in the future that it is this strange “futuristically backwards” society. It’s almost as if society became so advanced that it had no where else to go and simply regressed, so much so that technologies like computers are considered ancient, yet most of Fever’s world runs on steam power. I do think I misclassified Fever Crumb at first, and it is not strictly steam-punk so much as it is just sci-fi, but readers who are fans of the steam-punk genre will probably enjoy this one too. Whatever it is, it’s an incredibly interesting setting.
I also originally thought I’d enjoy fever as a character, but I struggled to really like Fever. Because Fever was raised with the order of Engineers, she was taught that emotion was irrational and that practicality was key, she is rather unsympathetic. She could be so straight forward and harsh at the wrong times, which just make it hard for me to like her. In her defense however, after leaving the Engineers and experiencing the outside world, Fever does struggle with her own emotions verses being rational and she does learn that it can be a good thing to act on one’s feelings. She was just too practical for me to really love her like I was hoping I would.
Despite not really liking Fever, I was so engrossed in her story. The more time that she spends away from the protection of the Engineers, Fever’s personal history begins to unfurl and she starts to learn things about herself that she never knew. This is what I enjoyed about this book. I wanted to know where Fever actually came from and how she fit in with the turmoil of her society. The story really is pretty interesting and action packed, despite having Fever as a lackluster subject.
So, if you enjoy sci-fi and strange futuristic worlds you may really like Fever Crumb. I recommend the audiobook too because it was narrated by the author which is always fun! Although it wasn’t my favorite, it was an entertainingly strange read!
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic Audio (March 1, 2011)
Length: 6 hours and 59 minutes
Narrator(s): Philip Reeve (yes the author!)
Series: Book 1 in the Fever Crumb series.
Buy the Book: Fever Crumb