Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

49096488Lynn: OK – let me just get this out of my system at the start. I am furious with Philip Reeve! I have PILES of books that I need to read, review deadlines and a blogging partner who was wondering quite vocally why I hadn’t passed Fever Crumb (Scholastic, April 2010) along to her. It is all Philip Reeve’s fault! Not only do I want to read this book again and again but I want to read all the rest of the Hungry City Chronicles all over again too. Darn the man – he just writes too well!

This prequel to the Hungry City Chronicles begins several hundred years before Mortal Engines and introduces fourteen-year-old Fever Crumb. A foundling, Fever was adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb in the Order of Engineers. It was risky because everyone knew that female brains were not capable of rational thought. The experiment has been a success though and uber-rational Fever has been assigned to assist a young archaeologist. He has discovered a cache of priceless inventions and needs help examining the relics. Rumors are flying about northern invaders approaching and the city is roiling with riots and unrest. As Fever works with the strange technologies she is beset with strange memories that may hint at her origins.

It is sheer pleasure to re-enter Reeves astonishingly inventive world. Packed with humor, sly references to current culture and lots of action, the story also examines issues of family, the nature of power, class and love. Reeve sets the stage for the traction cities and the Stalkers and, darn the man, I can’t wait to read all four of these brilliant books all over again. I’m just saying – if I miss my deadlines it is not my fault!

Cindy: This will have to end up on my best of the year list. The writing is gorgeous from the sentence level to the story-arc of the whole. I’m with Lynn, I want to reread the whole series. I haven’t read Mortal Engines since it first published in 2003 so I’m sure I’m missing connections here, but the idea of Municipal Darwinism was one of my favorite parts and I’m delighted to get the history on the origin of the traction cities that eat up smaller cities and use the parts. Fever is an awesome character, struggling to contain her irrational emotions as she has been conditioned to do by the engineers who’ve raised her while examining each predicament with her logical eye. And then there’s the plot. The book opens with Fever helping to make a small fleet of life-sized paper boys, traced around her body and powered by ancient technology…and the book is a wild ride through to the scene where she is being hunted by them in a library.

I’ve read and reviewed other steam punk books recently, but this one is my favorite. I don’t have the science fiction genetic code in my DNA like Lynn, but she didn’t even have to beg me to read this one, I was eager to read it as soon as the UPS man left it on the porch. Good friend that I am, though, I gave it to her first. If you haven’t tried the series, thinking it is too science-fiction-y for you, start here. Trust me. You’re in for a treat. And even if you won’t do that, be sure to buy it for your library collection, the fans of the series will thank you.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve"

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  1. You guys have got to stop posting about so many excellent books! My list is getting ridiculous.

  2. I’m sorry, Melissa. I understand. You should see our stacks. We’ve have many more to get to. I need more time to read!!!–Cindy

  3. Wait is this the first book? If so i want this one too.

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