Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Do you know what "Steampunk" is? I was at a conference yesterday where an author was speaking and she said that librarians know what Steampunk is, but nobody else does. Steampunk is a trendy genre right now; science fiction set in a pseudo-historical setting, often Victorian England. The book I reviewed last Winter, Larklight, falls into that category, and so does this book. Fever is a girl who lives in England in the far distant future, but in her time England has lost most of its technology and has reverted back to conditions mirroring the 1800's. Fever is the only girl in a colony of engineers, having been raised by them as a foundling. The colony is run by strict rules of logic. No emotion of frills of any kind are allowed because they are seen as distractions. The book starts when Fever has her first assignment outside of the colony and becomes aware of the very illogical world of the low-life of the city. While in the city, she stumbles on clues about her own identity and how she came to live with the engineers. At the same time, the city comes under attack by outside forces that travel from city to city in moving buildings. The Engineers decide to side with the invaders because of their advanced technology, but Fever must decide which side she is on. I was half way through the book before I realized that it is a pre-quil to Reeve's Mortal Engines series. Reeve has an amazing imagination and is able to paint the most outlandish and creative realities in believable hues. I think the key to his success is his ability to create realistic and complex characters. Since the characters move and function in the incredible world, we are able to go along with them. This is definitely a YA book and has a fairly high violence level and body count. It also ends without really ending, and there are at least two more books about Fever in the works. Still, it is worth reading, especially for those who have enjoyed Reeve's other books. (325 p.)

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