Review of The Fever King by Victoria Lee

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Firstly this book was a complete cover draw, it’s amazing and utterly eye catching, and when I discovered whilst reading it was a dystopian too that completely sealed it that this would be a book for me. Whilst the Magic virus is never fully explained, it’s certainly an interesting take on an apocalyptic scenario and it’s refreshing to have the result of an outbreak not end in zombies. The result of surviving Magic? Witchings, people with magical capabilities from healing to telepathy, or in the case of our protagonist Noam, an ability to control technology.  Through going in blind I also didn’t realise that this book had such a intense LGBTQIA theme, this went hand in hand with the story perfectly and in a plot that clearly places diversity high on it’s agenda, the acceptance of and high proportion of Witching’s who are queer feels like a much needed social comment.

There really is a ton going on and the story has a very fast paced feel (which was I was shocked when the characters towards the end said it had been a year) it’s easy to miss something important and I found myself rechecking a few times to make sure I was on track. But that’s the thing with The Fever King, it keeps you on an edge very much with Noam who is often battling and becoming embroiled in something far bigger as his desire to reach his lofty goal reaches fever pitch. As the story progressed and I understood, I felt that this was a pretty genius piece of story weaving and really raised the story up.

The magic and urban fantasy elements for me then sadly took a back step as The Fever King becomes an ode to the political – challenging preconceptions on refugees, social class, and balancing humanity and human rights atrocities. It’s tough to read at times and hard not to reflect on current affairs. Whilst I did like this aspect as it was unexpected and very well considered, I did find myself often wishing the story told us more about the magic and Noam’s interactions with others like him. There are helpful snippets of background dotted throughout though which at first seem abstract but really help to drive the story forward as the purpose of what we’re being told becomes clearer. I know this is the first part of a duology and with latter revelations in the story I’m hopeful that more will become clear in the conclusion.

Whilst I did enjoy The Fever King I found that it was perhaps a little too politics heavy and for that it’s a 4* for me.


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