Fever Crumb has spent the 14 years of her life being raised by the Order of Engineers. Her caretaker, Dr. Crumb, told her he found her as a baby, and with the riots taking place at the time, it just seemed the most rational decision for him to keep her, even though she’s the only female in a group of scientific men who generally try to avoid emotional entanglements. She has been happy enough with her lot, but when she is asked by the Chief Engineer to help an archeologist with a find he has made, she ends up being introduced to a wide world that is quite irrational — sometimes a little scary and confusing, and sometimes a little intriguing. But Fever doesn’t end up having much time to absorb the ways of the larger city of London before it ends up in chaos.
It’s 1,000 years in the future, and technology has largely been lost and reduced to strange artifact status. The Skinners’ riots overthrew the Scriveners, the supposedly genetically superior people who ruled London for 200 years, and now the city is bracing for a possible invasion from nomads to the north. Fever’s odd appearance — she has eyes of two different colors — draws unwanted attention, and she is suddenly at the center of lots of action — and mystery. Just where did she come from, and why is she seeming to “remember” things that she couldn’t possibly have experienced?
Fever Crumb is an absorbing tale with good characters and clever details that is the first in a series of prequels to Philip Reeve’s Hunger City Chronicles. It delivers a background to the story in those books about mobile cities that go around the globe “eating” smaller cities, using them as raw materials to power themselves. I wouldn’t necessarily have found that particular plot line intriguing, but after reading Fever Crumb and enjoying it so much, I may have to look into them.
Rated: Mild, for some mild language use and some violence.