Eva Mitnick's Reviews > Fever Crumb

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
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's review
Jul 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, science-fiction, children, fantasy
Read in June, 2010

This exciting steampunk novel stands alone; no knowledge of the Hungry Cities series is required, though it may well lead readers to those wonderful books. As with all Reeve's books, there is plenty of action in the form of riots, romances, strange and terrible technology, battles, and more. There is also a Dickensian element, with a young mistreated orphan boy, Charley Swallow, being taken on as a helper by the obsessed, glint-eyed Skinner named Bagman. And this London, though much transformed by the ravages of time, is still recognizable by such place names as "Pickled Eel Circus." That this is the future is obvious by the way Internet terms and symbols like blog and @ have been transformed (there's a guy called @kinson).

Fever herself is a compelling character. She wants to be rational, but can't help feeling emotional, especially as she is hit by all sorts of bizarre experiences. Because Fever was brought up in a society of men with no kids or women around, she has no knowledge of politeness - she doesn't understand that though it may be irrational to thank a person who is just doing his job, it's still the polite thing to do. She is stiff and quaint at first - and although by the end, she has loosened a bit, she retains a marvelous sense of composure and stillness.

Readers of the Hungry Cities books will come across a few familiar characters here. For instance, we learn the origin of Grike and find out why he is a bit sweeter than your average Stalker. And of course, we discover how London gets up off the ground and becomes mobile.

This is highly recommended for its strange and gritty atmospheric technology, its fast-moving plot, for the intriguing cast of eccentric characters, and most of all for Fever, its bald heroine. Grades 6 and up.

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