The Only Prescription

BOOK REPORT for The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

Cover Story: Lightning
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Alternate Universe
Bonus Factor: Bisexuality
Factor: Series Starter
Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Parents
Relationship Status: Intrigued

Trigger Warning: The Fever King includes scenes suggested physical and sexual abuse, as well as examples of past abuse, that might be triggering for some readers.

Cover Story: Lightning

A little on the nose, maybe, but it’s hard not to notice the fact that it’s covering the entire cover. I do love the colors, and the juxtaposition of the gold text on the blues and purples. There’s something Twilight Zone-creepy about the little man in the middle, however, which keeps this from being a total hit.

The Deal:

In an alternate reality, the United States experienced a catastrophic event that killed millions and broke the country into several sovereign nations. The nation of Carolinia is one of the only ones to accept witchings, humans with viral-given magical abilities. They’re also a nation under stress: more refugees from Atlantia arrive every day, and with them more chances for a viral outbreak.

Noam Álvaro, the son of Atlantian refugees, has long worked to make Carolinia better for those like himself and his parents, people living in abject poverty and dealing with discrimination at the hands of those who think themselves “better than.” Even if doing so means criminal activity. When he lives through an outbreak and comes through on the other side with a rare magical gift, he thinks he’s finally found way to make a real impact.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Noam’s a good kid, and he’s got the right idea about his country needing change. But he’s not exactly going about it the right way. And he’s awfully naive. He’s searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places, and places his trust in people without really thinking through the consequences. He needs someone in his life to put him on a better path. Whether or not he’d listen to me, well, that’s another question.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

There’s a good bit of enemistry in The Fever King, but both parties are so broken the relationship ends up being more toxic than healing.

Talky Talk: Alternate Universe

There’s a lot that’s familiar about the world of The Fever King, even though it’s set in a post-apocalyptic future, and there’s a virus that most often kills, but sometimes gives people magical powers, plaguing the nation. Thanks to Carolinia’s leaders, technology has stalled at pretty much our own modern levels, and the machinations of Noam’s world’s political elite feels all too real. Just, with magic.

That said, the book can be confusing. The passage of time isn’t clear—one day the weather is freezing and the next it’s unbearably hot. Lee intersperses some world history between the present day chapters, which helps explain what happened to the world and slowly unravels some of the more unclear plot points, but I would have liked a lot more explanation. Additionally, certain twists were transcribed, and I’m a little lost at what, exactly, happened at the end of the book. Hopefully it all clears up in the next novel(s).

Bonus Factor: Bisexuality

Noam is bisexual, and makes it very clear in the book, having had both a serious girlfriend and dalliances with guys. It isn’t A Thing, however, and I appreciate that. Bisexual representation–the representation of all sexualities that aren’t straight, really—is important, particularly in YA books.

Factor: Series Starter

According to Goodreads, there’s at least one more book coming in the Feverwake series. And The Fever King doesn’t exactly end on a non-cliffhanger note. Be warned.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownups

There are so many terrible adults in The Fever King. SO MANY.

Relationship Status: Intrigued

There’s something about you, Book, that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m not sure if I like you like you, but I’m willing to put in more time to figure it out. Just be a little more open with your past, OK? There’s mysterious, and then there’s hiding something.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

● Looking for another dystopia with superheroes? Check out Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series.

● Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology has a similar magical+military vibe.

● Alwyn Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a very different look at humanity’s future, but also features awful grownups. If, you know, you need to stoke that fire.


FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Skyscape, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Fever King is available now.