by Philip Reeve
Cover Artist: Sam Weber
Review by Ellen Russell
Scholastic Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545207195
Date: 01 April 2010 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve, is a fascinating look into the future of humanity. Which parts of our society, our technology will endure and which will be lost to history? Fever Crumb is unique: not only does she have eyes that are two different colors, she is also a female in the order of engineers, an order dedicated to rational thought which believes that women are inherently irrational. Abandoned by her mother as an infant, Fever is taken in by the kindly Dr. Crumb who raises her in the engineers’ headquarters, which is, in fact, a giant head. It represents the head of Auric Godshawk, the leader of another humanoid race, the Scriven. The Scriven looked like humans, but were much taller and had dark markings on their skin, which earned them nicknames such as "dapplejacks" and "patchskins". They had taken over London during the previous generation, but were ousted in a mass revolt by the humans of London. Since the revolt, anyone who might be a Scriven is considered an enemy of the people of London.
After being sent to aid an archaeologist, Kit Solent, in his excavation of an ancient tunnel, Fever discovers that she is not simply an abandoned baby. Somehow she is having flashbacks of memories that are not her own. How is she linked to the underground vault built by Auric Goshawk and why does she know the passcode? Unbeknownst to Fever, someone else has discovered her link to the Scriven leader, and this person has made killing Scriven his business. Somehow Fever must survive to discover why these foreign thoughts are in her head, what is hidden in Goshawk’s vault, and why it is so important. The fate of London rests in Fever’s hands.
Fever Crumb is an excellent read. It is the kind of steampunk that could make anyone a devotee of the genre. Who doesn't love mysteries, family secrets, civil unrest, boats that can move over land, and hot air balloon rides? Reeve has created a wonderfully complete and intricate futuristic world. There are no chinks in his fully-fleshed-out vision of a Europe traveled by land barges and facing a new revolution. His characters are real and edgy and his heroine is an underdog we can all root for. I could not put it down and now I cannot wait to pick up the Mortal Engines quartet and further explore this new world.