Mark's Reviews > Fever Crumb

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
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's review
Sep 03, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: dystopian, gritty, fantasy, young-adult
Read from September 03 to 19, 2011

"Fever Crumb," tells the story of Fever, obviously, who is the lone girl engineer in a dystopian London where getting by is good enough for most. After being given an assignment to investigate a mysterious vault found underground, Fever is caught up in a struggle for the city where her mind holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the past.

Although set in a promising world, I found Reeve's story thoroughly disappointing and harder to finish the further I went. The dystopian London he creates is truly unique, the leftovers of untold events which ended society as we know it ages before. Remnants of present day technology and references to real world locations are sprinkled throughout, but there is also this fantasy aspect to things as well. There are other humanoid races, paper dolls which come to life, and reanimated corpses used as soldiers, all which feel more appropriate in a Lord of the Rings epic that this dystopian London. Like I said earlier, the setting is certainly unique, but it feels like a crash between two different worlds rather than a single cohesive one. I found myself wanting to know so much more about how things came to be, which I feel is an indication of its promise, but was left unsatisfied for the most part. Why is a radio such fascinating technology but the ability to bring paper to life no big deal? Where did the Scrivers come from? What is going on in the rest of the world? Are things similar there? In the end, I feel like I was dragged through the setting rather than set in one, not really getting a good grasp of how things worked or could have possible came to be.

In terms of characters, Fever is the center of the story, but that's not to say that others don't take the helm often. Reeve jumps the narrative between several other characters and it felt more jarring than anything else. I was left with a good sense of who each person was, but never given enough insight to really get attached with anyone. All of the characters, Fever included, feel more like roles than individuals with depth who grow and change, making it difficult to really care about anyone as the poorly paced narrative plays out.

When the book opens up, the mysterious nature of the vault really peaked my interest, but that storyline gets quickly buried, only to return at the end and play a somewhat small role in the events that make up a largely anti-climatic ending. There are no major twists in the story and none of the characters evolve or overcome some major predicament or anything like that. The bulk of the story is merely pieced together with a series of action scenes that fail to feel connected with a major story arc. Frankly, the story is boring,and the two prolonged flashback sequences really didn't do much in terms stirring any real interest or revealing anything that I was dying to know.

I think the best way to summarize my feelings on Fever Crumb is on the back of the book. The back flap is covered with critics praise and accolades...from one of Reeve's other books. In the end, there just isn't that many good to say about Fever Crumb.
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