Lee thoughtfully gives the subject of refugee and immigration policies center stage…the setup of this new world and planned series is genuinely compelling, and it’s filled with striking moments…Readers will be absorbed as the book melds fantasy and action with psychology and political intrigue.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This fast-paced, issue-driven thriller will collect readers, who will eagerly anticipate the sequel. With references to the Holocaust as well as present-day issues of immigration, deportation, martial law, and racism, Lee has worked philosophical and current-day realities into a promising series opener.” —Booklist
“[A] standout. Diverse characters, frank discussions about sexual and mental abuse, and reasonably plausible science-based magic elevate this above many dystopian peers.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Adults and older teens who appreciate stories with close ties among magic, science, and political machinations will find this first novel appealing.” —Library Journal
“This is a book for teens of today wrestling with the political unrest in the United States. Written from the refugee perspective, it explores topics of abuse, suicide, intergenerational trauma, mass plague outbreaks, and more. Lee’s writing is advanced, sophisticated, and full of emotion. This is for true lovers of sci-fi and dystopian [fiction] who enjoy deep character development mixed with a little romance. Fans of Neal Shusterman and Veronica Roth will be drawn to this novel. Highly recommended…” —School Library Journal
“A plague as scary as Stephen King, and a romance as complicated and compelling as all my favorites.” —Sarah Rees Brennan, award-winning author of In Other Lands
“Deliciously fierce and unforgiving, Victoria Lee’s The Fever King is a merciless story that fans of V.E. Schwab’s Vicious should not miss. I will never be over this book.” —Ashley Poston, author of Heart of Iron and Geekerella
“Brutal yet thoughtful, The Fever King is a nuanced, unblinking study of the complex structures of power in a world where magic itself is a disease that few survive. Lee's science-based, gritty world and sky-high stakes meld perfectly with the timely political intrigue of this book’s twisting, devastating plot. —Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil
“My kind of sci-fi: sharp, smart, and political, with something important to say about our own world. Lee offers a fresh twist on magic that makes The Fever King feel totally new and unique. I was absorbed in Noam’s world from the first page—and was dreading leaving it by the last.” —Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire
DEBUT In a war-torn future America, new states have formed around the only inhabitable areas left untainted by magic or nuclear fallout. Sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro, son of undocumented Atlantian immigrants, loses his last remaining family member when a magical virus outbreak occurs in his Carolinian neighborhood. The fever claims the lives of many of his neighbors, but Noam wakes to discover that he has been spared and the infection has made him a powerful magic user. Minister Lehrer, a major figure in the government whom Noam despises, offers him a chance to hone his powers under his personal tutelage. Noam uses the opportunity to attempt to overthrow the current administration and help other undocumented immigrants. While its magical system is intriguing, Lee's debut sf thriller is stymied by flat, lackluster characters, in whose motivations and relationships readers are unlikely to be invested. The pace picks up toward the end and a twisty plot offers some surprises. VERDICT Adults and older teens who appreciate stories with close ties among magic, science, and political machinations will find this first novel appealing.—Karin Thogersen, Huntley Area P.L., IL
Gr 10 Up—Until the outbreak, Noam was a regular 16-year-old boy in his neighborhood, even if he was an Atlantian refugee. Afterward, he wakes up in a hospital alone, everyone else in his neighborhood dead. Suddenly he is handed power, status, and a new life as a witching. But does he want it, or can he use his magic to enhance the Atlantian cause? This is a book for teens of today wrestling with the political unrest in the United States. Written from the refugee perspective, it explores topics of abuse, suicide, intergenerational trauma, mass plague outbreaks, and more. Debut author Lee reflects on her personal experiences through a sci-fi/fantasy lens and seeks to speak to readers who see themselves reflected in Noam's eyes. Lee's writing is advanced, sophisticated, and full of emotion. Readers can feel the tension and frustration in Noam as he tries to navigate a world of power and corruption to find where he belongs. Noam's relationship with Dara, a fellow witching, is also an example of the hard decisions we make for those we love. This is for true lovers of sci-fi and dystopian who enjoy deep character development mixed with a little romance. VERDICT Fans of Neal Shusterman and Veronica Roth will be drawn to this novel. Highly recommended to any young adult collection.—Kayla Casiello, Woods Memorial Library, Barre, MA
In Carolinia, one of the nations of the former United States, magic enters people like a virus, mostly killing them.
If you survive, the magic stays and you become a witching. Noam, the Jewish Latinx son of undocumented immigrants from neighboring Atlantia, is one. With his parents dead, Noam is brought to the witching training center, receiving personal tutoring from the minister of defense, Calix Lehrer. Noam sees this as an opportunity to work from the inside to bring rights to the many refugees who have come to Carolinia to escape the virus that still plagues other areas. Fellow student Dara, a dark-skinned and beautiful teen boy, meanwhile favors an anti-refugee politician who has a frosty relationship with Lehrer. If not for the fact that Noam, who is bisexual, harbors lusty feelings for Dara and is sneaking around to maintain a relationship with a father figure at the Migrant Center, or that no witching can be trusted if you don't know what types of magic they're good at, things would be simple. Lee's debut is a thriller with obvious allegorical connections to today's political climate, but it doesn't read as message-y; even those with genre fatigue shouldn't regret giving it a try. If it weren't for the unsatisfying, obviously sequel-ready ending, this would be a standout.
Diverse characters, frank discussions about sexual and mental abuse, and reasonably plausible science-based magic elevate this above many dystopian peers. (Dystopian science fiction. 15-18)