Debut Review: The Fever King – Victoria Lee

Debut Review: The Fever King – Victoria LeeThe Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
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four-stars

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What do you get when you mix politics, immigration, magic, and a fantastic M/M romance? You get the greatness that is The Fever King, is what you get.

Honestly I had no idea what I was in for when I first heard about The Fever King. I mean once upon a time I stayed away from all books having to do with fantasy and magic and here I was wanting to read this debut that was not only a fantasy including magic, but also was a politically driven story. I truly wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. But I had nothing to be worried about. The Fever King ended up being a fantastic journey with a lot of unexpected twists and turns (and a last 20% of the book leaving you breathless), and the perfect way to kick off a new series.

The Fever King is a book about Noam, the son on undocumented immigrants, who is orphaned after viral magic takes his father and leaves Noam with the ability to control technology. Now Noam has the interest of the minister of defense and his life is not his own anymore.  As Noam gets further and further into this new life and closer to Calix Lehrer he is soon learning things about himself and his government that he can’t unknow and meeting people {DARA!!!!} that will forever change his life.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint what I enjoyed so much about The Fever King. I guess when I think about it it was all of the components as a whole that made it such a great reading experience. The story flowed easily and the characters had a naturalness to them that I appreciated. I also really loved that the plot felt so now and current and it felt like something I hadn’t read before. Noam, Dara and Calix are people I found myself wanting to know more about and I can’t wait to get book 2 so I can.

I’m trying to think of what to tell you to make this a book you will want to read. Will telling you it is a fantasy that is heavily based in technology do the trick? What about if I say it is a LGBT book with two adorable boys? What about if I tell you about how politics and immigration plays a huge role in the story? So much awesomeness and not enough words to describe it. Instead I will just tell you, READ THE BOOK and be done with it.

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Debut Author Take Over: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

I am so super excited to kick off a series of posts that will happen over the next few months. Back in September I was contacted by a group called Class of 2k19 Books. They wanted to see if I was interested in working with any of the debut authors on their list. I was immediately taken with quite a few and wrote back, maybe scream shouted, that I would love to be a part of it and so began my journey.

I won’t lie, I was in a blogging slump and having this new blood reach out helped a lot. It added a spark to my blogging life that was missing and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and some guest posts from these fabulous ladies that I have been working with for the past few months.

For my third debut author I have Victoria Lee (who I’m happy to say I got to meet at ALA at her very first signing!!!!), the author of The Fever King, with us today answering some of my questions.

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1)      First off, congratulations on your debut! It truly was fantastic. Where did the idea for The Fever King come from? Was it something you have been thinking about for a long time?

It took me a really long to figure out what story I was actually trying to tell with The Fever King. I wrote several versions of this book trying to figure it out! Parts of the book were originally ideas for other books that ended up getting cobbled together Frankenstein’s-monster style for TFK.

Primarily, I wanted to write about the intersection of intergenerational and personal trauma—about what it means to face our trauma, and the way the world can demand that we “have” to confront our abusers in order for trauma to be viewed as legitimate. I also wanted to write about the experience of feeling like an outsider in your own country. For me, I wrote this through the lens of being Jewish American (for Noam: Atlantian-Carolinian), but so many different groups have experienced this historically and today in different ways.

 

2)      I loved how politics and economic status played a huge role in this story. Why was that so important for you to share and write about? 

A lot of Noam’s experiences as a refugee were broadly drawn from the Jewish experience. Noam is the child of refugees and has spent his whole life fighting for immigrant rights—but gaining magic powers elevates to a position of privilege in his society. Now he has to reconcile the intersection of that new identity as a Level IV witching with his other lived experiences as an Atlantian. I think all of the Jewish diaspora is familiar with the sense of being an outsider in one’s own country of birth, and Jewish people still struggle to reconcile the impact of pogroms and the Holocaust as they reverberate down through the generations. Many other groups have experienced and are experiencing similar things now. Although I can’t speak to their experiences, I hope I was able to capture at least a tiny facet of one person’s experience feeling like an outsider in their own country.

 

3)      Noam and Dara are complete opposites yet there is something about their slow bond and relationship that just clicked for me. What was the driving force between these two amazing characters?

The best romances have some kind of conflict or obstacle keeping the characters apart, right? And I really wanted to write a romance where the obstacle was something ideological—not a misunderstanding, or some kind of external force keeping them apart…but something where a fundamental part of each character’s identity is at odds with the other’s. And they have to overcome that division—or at least learn how to understand and respect the other person’s position—in order to be together. I also wanted to write about how difficult it is to trust someone when you’ve experienced trauma (which both characters have, in one way or another), and how sometimes learning how to love again after trauma is one of the bravest and most difficult things you can do.

 

4)      What do you hope people take away from The Fever King?

I hope readers start thinking more about how intergenerational and personal trauma intersect to impact lives, as well as how different ways of being privileged and marginalized interact and work to shape a person’s lived experience. And—importantly—I hope readers walk away about the nature of who we view as abusers vs victims, and how we might start to challenge those perceptions and biases.

 

5)      Can you tell us anything about the second book in the series? I am DYING to know what is in store for all of these characters.

WELL. I don’t know how much I’m contractually allowed to say in public, so let me just say…Noam and Dara are both coming back in book two, and Dara will be back as a point-of-view character. Which means we’ll get chapters written from Dara’s perspective, inside Dara’s head.

And if you thought Noam and Dara had issues in book 1, that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.

 

6)      Lastly I always ask this question.  What is the one item of clothing or accessory that you could never live without? Basics aside of course.

Oh wow this one is hard. Um. Probably my favorite oversized wool sweater. I like feeling cozy, plus it’s a convenient tent when I’m writing an angsty scene and need to hide from my own feelings.

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Debut Author Take Over: The Fever King by Victoria LeeThe Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Thank you so much, Victoria, for taking the time and answering these questions.

Make sure you go out and buy The Fever King on 3/1/19!

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What I’ve Read – Debut Authors

I’ve mentioned recently that I am going to be working with some debut authors from the Class of 2k19 over the next few months. In preparation for them guest posting on my blog I have been trying to read their books. So far I have finished 3 and have started the 4th and 5th of a list of 6 books I currently have access to. Why am I telling you this? Because the 3 that I have read I have given 4-5 stars! These debuts are awesome guys and I want to make sure you know that and get them on your TBR!

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What I’ve Read – Debut AuthorsMatch Me If You Can by Tiana Smith
Published by Swoon Reads
Published: January 8, 2019
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four-stars

Mia's best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn's matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.

Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn't count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince - the guy she knows is right for her - and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn't find out that Mia's been matchmaking behind her back.

Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?

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What I’ve Read – Debut AuthorsJust For Clicks by Kara McDowell
Published by Amberjack
Published: January 29, 2019
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five-stars

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they're expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as "just Claire"? And what should Claire do about Mom's old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don't sound like Mom's perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

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What I’ve Read – Debut AuthorsIf You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: March 5, 2019
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four-stars

“Funny, engrossing, and one-of-a-kind. If You’re Out There completely swept me away.” —Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Leah on the Offbeat

Part whip-smart suspense tale, part touching story of friendship, this is an extraordinary debut about a determined teen trying to solve a mystery no one else believes in.

After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

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What I’ve Read – Debut AuthorsThe Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What I’ve Read – Debut AuthorsThe Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess
Published by Flux
Published: March 5, 2019
Buy on Amazon
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Victoria Parker knew her dad's behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won't stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can't stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won't leave you alone?

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I’ll be back with reviews of these closer to their publication dates and there is definitely more to come from these amazing authors so stay tuned to Andi’s ABCs over the next few months!

Are there any debuts you are excited for? 

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