Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fever Crumb was my first introduction to the writing of Philip Reeve. What a pleasant surprise to discover a new world, sans magic, but with a type of mysticism that borders on the Fantastic.
The story takes place in London a few thousand years after the collapse of the world as we know it.
The disastrous series of ecological and man-made events that destroyed our "ancient" human society is called the "Downsizing." Most of humanity perished, with entire countries being swallowed up by the sea.
This new world has a Victorian, Steam-Punk feel to it, with most people being illiterate and knowledge being kept in the hands of the few. Technology is almost completely lost. What is left of it is closely controlled and even feared, as it is assumed that it was technological progress which destroyed the ancient world.
The map of the Earth has been permanently altered. America is thought to be a completely dead continent. There no longer are countries like England or Italy but, instead, there are a series of cities in one of the surviving land masses called Europa. London is one such city.
In London, a mutant race of humans, called the Scriveners, has recently been overthrown after generations of claiming their supremacy over Homo Sapiens. They had ruled with cruelty and violence and the city is still raw from their influence.
This is the world into which Fever Crumb is born.
Supposedly left on the doorstep of the Order of Engineers when she was only months old, Fever is the only female to be taught the scientific ways of the Order. She has been raised by Dr. Crumb to be rational, unemotional, and methodically scientific. She has never lived anywhere or with anyone other than with the Engineers.
When a Doctor named Kit Solent comes to the order to request Fever's assistance on a Scientific endeavor, Fever has her first trip outside the safety of the Order's walls. A lovely girl with an unusual set of eyes- one brown, one gray- Fever sparks suspicion in the minds of the uneducated Londoners who see her on the streets. Anyone different could be a Mutation, like the Scriven scum who relentlessly ruled them for so long. It isn't long before the suspicion of the London Commoners turns to violence and Fever is forced into a most irrational adventure.
Fever Crumb is an excellent first installment in this series by Philip Reeve. Recommended to readers who like Science Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction, and Adventure. Ages 11+.