The Fever King, by Victoria Lee
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Series?: Feverwake #1
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Length: 384 pages
Times Read: Once
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.
Guys, I just finished this one, and…
Can’t stop won’t stop sorry
♥ The magic system in this book is So. Good. I mean to start with, magic is a virus in this world. When an outbreak hits, it either kills you or it doesn’t, and the few who survive are now what’s called a “witching,” and you have a presenting power and access to magic. But here’s the other amazing part–magic doesn’t just happen here, all like abracadabra!
No, if you want to access your magic around here? You have to know SCIENCE, kids (I would be totes screwed. Math and science are not my friends). When Noam lives through the outbreak that runs through his city, his presenting power is technopathy (basically magically hacking). But he can’t just do it all of a sudden, he still has to understand how it works and think it through. He’s good with computers, so he knows his way around writing a code. He starts off thinking through every step of that, and finds that it works, all without him touching a computer. Then he can send an email just by thinking about it, and so on. And if you’re motivated, you can study and actually learn different magics. So Noam presented as a technopath, but he can and does teach himself telekinesis by learning enough about physics. If you’re smarter than me, this might even make sense to you in the book! It’s very well described, but they started talking about ~actual science~ I was all…
Actual footage of me trying to understand
♥ The author has a long list of trigger warnings on her website, and it’s for good reason. This book is about SO MANY things, and so few of them have to do with the magic of the book. These are themes taken straight from today, just placed in a new setting. It’s sick to see all this bullshit happening in an imagined 2130-ish future, but it feels so, so real. Immigration, refugee camps, mental health, parental death, suicide, genocide, and so, so much abuse. Physical, sexual, child…so much of this book is about real-life trauma, and how you navigate through it, what you do after the immediate experience, how do you sift through the damage?
♥ The characters are what makes this book shine. I realize that up until now this review hasn’t sounded particularly cheery, but I mean, this isn’t really a cheerful kind of book. Noam is passionate and hurt and upset about the government, about his role in it, and about what he’s supposed to do to help fix things. Dara is moody and suspicious, quiet and withdrawn, hesitant to tell Noam anything. But slowly, as more of Dara’s blanks are filled in, as more of his past traumas are revealed, eventually Noam finds himself in deep and the rest of us have realized:
All of the characters in this book are COMPLICATED, and no one is good or bad. Is there really a hero? That all depends on if you believe the end justifies the means, I guess. Is one innocent death better than a hundred, and who has the right to make that decision? Is everyone in power corrupt, or do some of them really want the best for people? Our kids are CONFUSED, guys. There is a LOT going on, they still have to go to school and learn math, they’re self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, there might be a coup taking place, and they still have HORMONES, okay?
♥Y’all know your girl needs a good romance, and I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. As previously discussed, Dara is NOT the bad boy with an attitude and a pile of daddy issues that he pretends to be (actually, he does have a lot of daddy issues, but I’m not even going to try to unpack those because spoilers). What he and Noam have after the hate-to-love is sweet and caring, and their miscommunications actually make sense, rather than just being there to start ~drama.~ The author has said that she wrote every character in this book to be queer, and I don’t know about you but
There was one reviewer that said this wasn’t realistic and would never happen. Sure, we have books ALL THE TIME where literally every single character is straight and no one says boo about it, but a book where everyone is queer, and that’s over the top?
Final Thoughts: If you’re in the mood for hate-to-love, a magic system you’ve never seen before, political drama, soft bois pretending to be hard, and a killer ending (it’s not funny Victoria, you’d better fix all this shit in Electric Heir), then look no further and PICK. UP. THIS. BOOK.
Favorite Quotes: “Those jeans’re so tight I can see your religion.”
“It’s all random chance. The universe. Us. An infinite cascade of chaos. A series of impossible accidents is the only reason we even exist.”
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.
Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work.
She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
Prize: Win a copy of THE FEVER KING by Victoria Lee (US Only)
Start Date: 18th March 2019
End Date: 31st March 2019