Philip Reeve’s latest book, Fever Crumb, is a prequel to his awesome steampunk-ish Hungry City series, which includes Mortal Engines. Fever Crumb tells the story of an orphan girl raised by engineers to reject emotion and embrace reason. In the post-apocalyptic world she lives in, uncovering her mysterious past–and learning to embrace some of her passions–may be the key to introducing a new phase of history.
So who’s read it?
I’ll avoid spoilers in this post, but I can’t promises they won’t appear in the comments. Here are a few things I’d love to talk about:
Reeve is great at creating quirky, fully developed post-apocalyptic settings. In Mortal Engines, we’re introduced to moving cities whose inhabitants subscribe to the theory of “social darwinism”–in a city-eat-city world, only the strongest survive. In Fever Crumb, we’re immersed in a city with a dark past (including a bloody revolt that has left Fever and her fellow engineers living inside the head of a never-completed nationalist statue) and a fateful future (hmm… could it involve hungry cities?). How is Reeve able to make his strange settings so believable? Or do you find them too far-fetched?
The entire book rests upon the character of Fever, as the title suggests. But Fever is a girl who shuns emotions, which makes readers less likely to sympathize with her. I’m often turned off by characters who are coldly intellectual, and for me, Fever was no exception. Although she comes to embrace emotion a bit more as the story progresses, I had a hard time rooting for her. Did you have a hard time connecting with Fever or do you think her unusual circumstances made her more fascinating? How do you feel about this type of character in general?
Finally, it was a lot of fun to discover the origins of characters and settings from Mortal Engines et al. Which details did you discover that connect with Reeve’s other books?