A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fever King is the first of two planned volumes in the Feverwake series. It's set in the near future and combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, and romance. Main character Noam, 16, identifies as bisexual; the central, same-sex romance and the lack of stigma in the future society make it a positive representation of a world without LGBTQ issues. Kissing, caressing, and feelings of attraction are described. An instance of having sex has some detail leading up to it, but the sex itself isn't directly described. Lots of disturbing, violent images from a plot that involves murder, suicide, genocide, torture, possible sexual abuse, assassinations, and violent government overthrow. Blood and brains spattered on a wall are mentioned once; otherwise, blood is mentioned but not described. Pain is sometimes described in detail. Lots of variations of "f--k." Other strong language is rarer but includes "d--k" and "s--t." Teens frequently drink alcohol, and a couple abuse it; consequences are infrequent and mild. Several characters smoke. Explores themes about a divided society, how we treat refugees, and whether it's OK to do something bad if it's for the greater good.
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What's the story?
THE FEVER KING is set in the 22nd century, after a deadly virus and nuclear attacks leave much of the United States in ruins. A massive outbreak in the new country of Atlantia means many people have fled in fear to the country of Carolinia. As the son of refugees, 16-year-old Noam's life has always been hard, and he's always been hungry. Noam somehow survives an outbreak in the refugees' part of town, and like all of the very few who survive, the antibodies created give Noam magical abilities. Noam's whisked off to an elite government-run training facility where he'll learn to hone his new abilities, and where he meets and falls for the mysterious Dara. If he can't be certain anyone is who they seem to be, can Noam figure out whom to trust? Or how far he'll go to bring justice and opportunity to the refugees?
Is it any good?
Debut novelist Victoria Lee has created an absorbing, genre-defying page turner that will appeal to a broad range of readers. The Fever King skillfully combines elements of near-future science fiction, dystopia, romance, and fantasy into a believable and relatable whole, so that a reader who's more drawn to one genre than another will easily incorporate the other elements into their enjoyment of the story.
The only slight drawback is that the world and its rules are a little difficult to piece together at the beginning, but things quickly fall into place as the story moves along. The story also raises lots of questions both timeless and of the moment. How do we treat refugees? Why do we fear people who are different from us? Is it ever OK to do something wrong in order to make a positive change? Disturbing, violent images, strong language, and sensual but nongraphic sexual content make it best for high-schoolers and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Fever King. How much is too much? Does it matter if it's real-world or fantasy? Is reading about violence different from seeing it in videos, TV, games, etc.?
What about the strong language? Does it bother you? Is it realistic? What's the big deal about swearing?
Are alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes glamorized in the story? Is it realistic, and if it is, does that make a difference? What are the consequences, if any? What about the characters who abuse alcohol?
- Author: Victoria Lee
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Skyscape
- Publication date: March 1, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: December 13, 2019
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