Book Review: The Fever King (Feverwake Book 1) by Victoria Lee

In a future US, outbreaks of viral magic kill most who are unfortunate enough to get infected, but those who live develop special abilities and are known as witchings, including Noam who wakes from his fever with technopathy. The Minister of Defense takes him under his wing, giving Noam the opportunity he wants to help the refugees in Carolinia, but the more he gets to know the minister's ward, Dara, the more he starts to wonder who he should trust.

Book Review: The Fever King (Feverwake Book 1) by Victoria Lee | science fiction, young adult, lgbt+
Title: The Fever King
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 376
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I feel like the ending of this book short-circuited my brain, and now I don’t know how to word.

This book is kind of a combination of fantasy and sci-fi with a dystopian-ish or post-apocalyptic world in which the US is divided and separated with wastelands of Quarantine Zone between the livable areas. Outbreaks of magic sometimes spread and kill people, only sparing a few each time who survive and develop supernatural abilities.

It was grittier than I expected it to be, and the whole thing was so unpredictable. I was on edge almost the whole time I was reading because, like Noam, I wasn’t sure who to trust or what everyone’s plots and plans were. Nothing was obvious, but it also wasn’t a forced kind of mystery. There did reach a point when I realized certain things, but even then, there was no lack of tension and unpredictability, especially with that intense ending.

The book is also very relevant to our world. The main character, Noam, is the child of refugees and spends the whole book fighting for their rights, and the author themselves has said the story is about “the intersection of intergenerational trauma and personal trauma.” Although I cannot speak to the portrayal of those things, what I can say is that they are very much the backbone of the book. For this reason, there’s a fair amount of world-building and politics. Also for this reason, there are a lot of content/trigger warnings, and the author’s list can be found here. I would call this mature YA because of all the heavy themes and topics it handles.

But for all its politics, this book is also very focused on and driven by the flawed characters. Noam with all his roughness and passion and righteous anger. Dara with his brittleness that he covers up with coldness and alcoholism. Lehrer with his mysterious past and his smooth control in all situations. There’s POC and LGBT+ rep since all three characters are queer and Jewish, Noam is Colombian, and Dara has brown skin. The relationships between characters are well-written too.* And one thing this book does exceptionally well is illustrate the way good people can be pushed into doing bad things. It also makes you question where exactly the line should be drawn if one is doing bad things for a good reason.

The magic adds another interesting element to the story. There are all different ways someone’s powers can manifest, and using magic is largely dependent on understanding the science behind it (though I’m not clear on whether any witching could develop any power if they decided to learn the science). For example, Noam is a technopath because he’s good with computers and programming.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and the grit and heaviness of it. The characters were three-dimensional and flawed, the mystery and tension pulled me in, and I definitely want to know what’s going to happen next!

*A couple *VERY SPOILER-Y* thoughts I wanted to add about the relationships between Noam/Dara and Noam/Lehrer:

Normally with the way it happened, I would’ve thought Dara’s love for Noam didn’t seem believable because we hardly saw the two of them spend time together, and Dara acted so strangely for most of it. But Dara could read Noam’s mind, and I do think you could fall in love with someone if you knew them that intimately.

I also thought the relationship between Noam and Lehrer was very well written. I kind of fell into Lehrer’s trap the way Noam did at first, so I can understand why Noam trusted him, even without persuasion power. Noam was desperate to help the refugees, and Lehrer was offering him the opportunity to do that. Not only that, Noam had already lost his mom, recently lost his dad, and Brennan was pushing him away—he’d lost all the adult guidance he had in his life—and Lehrer took him under his wing, complimented him, treated him with respect and admiration, said Noam reminded him of himself. But at some point I realized how wrong it was that Lehrer was using a 16-year-old to do his dirty work. He was putting Noam into dangerous situations. He was manipulating him. He knew exactly what effect he had on Noam.



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24 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fever King (Feverwake Book 1) by Victoria Lee

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  1. Olivia

    This sounds really interesting, and I love these sorts of books, so onto my tbr it goes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    You’re the second blogger I’ve seen talking about this one and seeing that you enjoyed it too I’m thinking I probably need to get to reading this one. It certainly sounds interesting and this time I didn’t read the spoilers this time so I’m intrigued to find out what the spoilers are. I’ll have to read and find out.

  3. Greg

    Magic outbreaks, quarantines… I LOVE the sound of this. I feel like I don’t read a lot of techno- magic either, and I’d kinda like to explore that more? So this sounds doubly good! The unpredictability of it is appealing too.

    On the first spoiler too, I’ve always liked stories where people have powers like that. Like, how WOULD that affect relationships, you know? Fascinating concept.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s got a lot of interesting stuff going on! I haven’t read about a lot of technology related magic either, now that I think about it. There should be more books about that! I love when books are unpredictable.

      It is an interesting thing to think about. That’s another thing it’d be cool to have more books about, if the books could really explore that.

  4. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    I have been seeing this book all over the book blogging community and everyone seems to be loving it. I love when books sort of cross genres, so knowing this one has science fiction, fantasy and post-apoc elements to it has me intrigued already. And then when you layer on flawed characters and unpredictability… Kristen, you totally sold this book to me! I am going to have to add it to my wishlist now 😀 I hope you will enjoy the sequel whenever it releases x

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve seen some good things from other bloggers too! Yay, I added a book to someone’s list! 😛 I’m definitely going to be interested in getting my hands on the sequel, hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.