Review: Fever Crumb
Fever Crumb, by Phillip Reeve, is the first in a two part prequel to The Mortal Engines Quartet. It is a young adult steam-punk/post-apocalyptic novel about a young girl who discovers that her mysterious lineage is linked to past world-changing historical events and may play a role in deciding its fate. I’m not a big fan of the steampunk genre, though I am willing to put aside misgivings like that and give most books a chance. And so I did with this one.
I found the world of Reeve’s books, with its people reanimated by being stuffed full of gears or mechanical implants, along with the ruined streets of London with scattered caches of ultra-technology from the pre-apocolypse and other knick-knacks like, interesting. What really hooked though, me was the exploration of Fever’s past. Big mysteries like this are fun for me, as I enjoy books that feature exploring in some way, be that a world or a character’s personal history etc. That interest was ramped up when I learned that Fever’s parents might have had something to do with the widespread desolation and species wars that strongly impacted the past of her world. Towards the end of the book there is the sense that this revelation will have ramifications in the future, but this has little impact as far as this novel itself goes and that made it fall flat. The book itself follows this ‘of later importance’ model to a fault. Some sections and whole characters have only a passing relevance to the story as a whole and are focused on in such a way that even without reading the second prequel or the following Mortal Engines, it’s plains that they are present here on only because they have some later significance in those works, and as a consequence I did not like the book. A book whose pleasure in reading mostly comes from catering to an already established interest in the facts and factoids of the histories other books and in some way is also derived from a fascination for its specific genre, makes for a weak story. And, while I haven’t read enough young adult books to be an authority on them, this book is not absolved from these shortcomings because it’s aimed at a younger audience. At the risk of sounding like I’m doling out righteous condemnation from on high at Reeve’s novel, whether it’s the tenth book in a series or the first, a book should be able to stand on its own two feet. That it should ‘work’ and be worthwhile to read outside of whatever other works it’s connected to, and without prior knowledge of Reeve’s other books, it doesn’t.
Posted on December 7, 2012, in Book Reviews and tagged deviantart, fantastic art, Fever Crumb, Mortal Engines, Mortal Engines Quartet, Phillip Reeve, post-apocolypse, Red sound, steampunk, ~xnhanoo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.