When I’m hand selling a book, I typically have a spiel to introduce a favorite title. For the Fever Crumb trilogy, it usually starts with some version of, “these are really cool futuristic novels with a steampunk flair!”
Then, inevitably, the customer follows up with, “Uh. What’s steampunk?”
Help me out, internet. “Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.”
If this sounds outside your comfort zone, don’t panic. Author Philip Reeve handles this tricky theme with a deft hand. It’s his own vivid imagination and offbeat characters that carry the day. Victorian-meets-space-age technology is just the cherry on top.
Reeve’s title character, young orphan Fever Crumb, has been raised in the order of Engineers, the last great bastion of logic and reason in the overcrowded city of London. But Fever is no ordinary engineer. For all her training in quashing the weakness of human emotions, she is haunted by strange memories that are not her own. As tensions rise in the city, so does Fever’s confusion over her origins. Is she merely a student of science and understanding? Or is she something more? Something that is, perhaps, not quite human?
The Fever Crumb books were written after Reeve’s Predator Cities quartet as a companion series, they are in fact prequels, and can easily be read first (that’s what I did). If you’re getting tired of the many dystopian series floating about, this is a great alternative that keeps the adventure middle and upper grade readers crave while presenting a fantasy world that feels fresh.
Also, if you love the series, rumor has it there will be more. Keep your eyes peeled!
Read on, readers!