Fever Crumb is a Young Adult dystopian novel set in London in the distant future, where technology like televisions and cell phones are considered Ancient Tech, computers are nothing more than useless garbage, and humans are not the only intelligent species.
This is the story of Fever Crumb, a teenager raised by the Order of Engineers, a group of scientists dedicated to all things "rational" - a term they use over and over again. They do not believe in emotions, sentimentality or instinct, which is why women are not allowed - with Fever being the only exception. They believe in logic, mathematical probability, and technology. Not exactly a nurturing environment for a girl found in a basket as a baby.
Fever says goodbye to the Order and to Dr. Crumb, her guardian, and sent off on an assignment to assist an archeologist named Kit Solent in opening a vault that contains Ancient Technology. During her trip she uncovers a past of her own. Meanwhile, Fever attracted the attention of a few city dwellers who think she may be one of the Scriven, a species of people who had tried unsuccessfully to take over London. On her assignment, Fever has a hard time handling her emotions as she is plagued by memories that are not her own - memories that might unlock a secret that saves London, but may destroy the world as she knows it. Will she find out what these memories mean before the Skinners find her?
This novel is a prequel to the Mortal Engines quartet series by Philip Reeve, of which I am not familiar, but involves a future Europe with its powerful cities mobile and fighting in a war of survival of the fittest - referred to as Municipal Darwinism. Understandably, there may have been references to later happenings that I missed. I have also read a review of this novel that point out some cool London and Bowie references, both of which were lost on me. I'm not that cool, I guess. There was the odd reference to a cult-like group wearing robes and pointy hats chanting the name of some old world prophet, "Hari! Hari! Hari Potter!", which poked fun at the ancient texts that survived through the years.
As much as I might have missed, I loved this novel. I thought it was cool and imaginative, and beyond all the new world order and politics, all the dust and beer, what you're left with are characters that you can root for until the very end, especially Fever. There is one reveal that made me yell "Oh!" in the middle of the Yankees/Red Sox game (my apologies to The Man). This novel had so much action and suspense that kept me turning the pages until I was finished. And even then, I wanted more.
Now that I have read Fever Crumb, I want to find out where this world goes from here. The beautiful part of that is I have a quartet of books waiting for me! After I finish reading the rest of the Mortal Engines series, I will come back to read Fever Crumb to see what I missed and if this novel unlocks some mysterious secrets.
About the Book: Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
FTC Statment: A review copy of this book was borrowed from a book seller.