Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
Review by Dash Cooray
As of today, until I come across something equally enjoyable, Fever Crumb is my most favourite book!
That’s a pretty big commitment coming from someone who treats fantasy novels as an extent of her own being, but it is true. I am completely blown away by Philip Reeves’ first book in the prequels to the famous Mortal Engines quartet which tells the story of rational and bald-headed apprentice Engineer Fever, a girl of fourteen who had been adopted into the Guild of Engineers at a time when women are considered less, intelligent creatures.
Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb – nearly the only person she’s ever known – to assist archaeologist 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?
What I love most is the beautifully crafted descriptions of future London, set in the middle of a festered swamp, the ravaged remains of century old nuclear wars and thrown back into an era of social unrest and general desolation.
Interesting also is the complex character of Fever. Reeves has a talent for creating endearing female protagonists that are unconventional and rather deep. Fever Crumb is as deep as a highland lake and is shrouded in mystery. She teeters to and fro, as any teenager would when thrust into the middle of history in the making. At times she’s rational, straightforward; like the engineers had taught her while at other times she’s vulnerable, constantly roiling in emotion.
Though I’m still trying to figure out whether its Reeves amazingly detailed imagination or the headstrong Fever Crumb is responsible for it, this book has taken its place in the pinnacle. My favourite. For now.
What did you think about Fever Crumb?
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