ARC Review: The Fever King {Victoria Lee} - Shit Gets Real



The Fever King by Victoria Lee
title: The Fever King
author: Victoria Lee
pages: 375
format: e ARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
CW: Death, Violence, Threat of sexual assault 

Bottom Line Up Front

THE FEVER KING had a great concept but shaky execution. The super cool badassery of the virus and the government conspiracy was a bit undercut by choppy pacing and some moral black and whiteness.

  • Depression: 7/10 C.J.’s did not feel worse about themselves or their lives after finishing this book, the other 3 were contemplating the cold selfishness of humanity 
  • Insomnia:  8/10 Zzzzs (there were times when this book tried to put me to sleep) 
  • Fluff: 4/10 for feels, mostly it was sex. I didn’t get a real swoony vibe from these dudes 
  • Death count: 130/10 for people suffering horrible deaths, but like 2 were on screen

These Characters Though

  • Noam is angry and vibrant and impulsive and he thinks about sex but also saving the world. He just feels like an authentic human, not a character. Also he’s bisexual, Jewish, and Latinx. I wanted to hug him. Even when he was being an idiot. 

  • Dara, oh Dara. My angry powderkeg. I loved that he and Noam were intensely attracted but also not always on the same page. 

  • Lehrer is my morally questionable bae. Is he good? Is he evil? Is he just really mentally compromised? Why do I love him more than Noam what is wrong with me? Tracing the architecture of his motivations was my favorite part of this book.  By the end, you have some clear answers, but there’s also been a lot of irreparable damage.

  • Who are the other characters? Did they exist? Were they figments of my imagination? Why were they there? What were their names cause I don’t remember. Except Ames, for some reason.

  • Sacha was the Big Bad but honestly he was just Evil, that was his personality.

Shit Gets Real

  • Victoria doesn’t pull punches. Bad things happen to good people. And bad people. In irreparable ways. Major plus! 

  • Move over, fake personality-based communes. This is a horrific dystopian world so eerily close to what our own could become that all the tragedies hurt even more. There are no easy answers.

  • You’ve got government conspiracy, refugee politics, contagion. Big scary stuff that could stand to be delved into more, honestly, but at least it gives a darker flavor to the dystopia.

  • I know I said no easy answers but there kind of are, in the sense that good and evil are pretty black and white and the villains do Villainy things to make sure you know they’re Evil and Not Justifiable In Any Way. And good people only do bad things if they’re being mind-controlled, so it’s okay.

Plot Mechanics Are For Losers

  • The pacing is way off. Noam gets sent to this compound then TIME JUMP he’s been in training for months and things have happened. I wanted to see what happened! I wanted to get my footing!

  • And yet, even though time moves quickly, the plot does not move quickly. There isn’t an obvious thread. The tension is loose. I felt myself getting bored.

  • Holy Deus ex machina, Batman. The resolution feels easy. Things just happen to happen. My spidey sense calls bullshit.

  •  Some really cool messed up stuff happens in the middle! But kind of gets undercut by later revelations?

OH RIGHT, AND THERE’S A MAGIC VIRUS

  • The concept was seriously cool. You get super sick. If you don’t die, you might get powers and then get recruited by the government to be a super soldier.

  • There’s a cyberpunk kind of fantastical-ness to it. Think Matrix. Think Animorphs. Think Dark Angel, one of the most underrated TV shows ever. Definite plus for atmosphere.

Words Don't Work That Way

  • Sorry, I’m a linguistics nerd. Carolinia? Atlantia? Why? Why did these people change the names of these places in very tiny almost minute ways? So Carolina is a country now, we better add an extra “I”? Wut? 

Should You Read It? 

  • Yeah of course! There weren't any problematic things or huge red flags in this one. It just didn't work super well for me. But I enjoyed a lot about it, so if it sounds cool to you, dive in! 

Will I read this author again? Maybe
Will I continue this series? Depends on what I hear about book two   



Note: I received this copy from the publisher for an honest review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

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