“Fever Crumb” is a stunning, stand-alone prequel to Philip Reeve’s brilliant science fantasy quartet. It is set many generations before the events of Mortal Engines, in whose dazzling world huge, predatory cities chase and devour each other. Now, London is a riot-torn, ruinous town, clinging to a devastated landscape and hiding an explosive secret. Is Fever, adopted daughter of Dr Crumb, the strange key that will unlock its dangerous mysteries?
~ Publishers Blurb
In my pre-book-blogging days I read an amazing YA dystopian series by Philip Reeve: The Hungry City Chronicles/Mortal Engines Quartet was a brilliantly written, original and intricately plotted series that aimed high and consistently hit its targets. And which had one of the best opening paragraphs. Ever.
“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
Then last year, the first in a new series of prequels was released, along with a new covers for all the books. I read somewhere online, that it was for a slightly younger age group and the hard-back with its large cut out section of the cover, didn’t do anything to dispel the doubts I suddenly had. So other books pushed their way in front, and Fever Crumb moved to the “maybe one day” pile.
Then, came this years failed attempt to read the books on the Carnegie 2010 shortlist, of which this is one of the nominated novels, and the only one I’ve managed to read of the four I had remaining.
And yes, it does have a slightly younger vibe to it, written as it is with a lighter and wittier touch, it’s also a tighter more focused tale. Not quite the sweeping scale of the original series. But, that’s not to say Reeve doesn’t pull it off. It’s still an amazing fast paced read that is difficult to put down. And I really, really enjoyed the book. 🙂
My only real criticism, because I don’t consider aiming at a younger audience is an issue really, is that whilst they are inspired some of the references to the old world (an old world prophet, that resembles a scruffy haired wizard, you may have heard of for instance,” occasionally feel shoe-horned in.
Reeve however excels at world building, so reading the other books is no way necessary to enjoy this one, (although it’s great fun trying to spot the origins of what the world becomes centuries later!) and it does feel as if the world can become what it does centuries later. And you are always transported to his worlds.
An addition the series that is well worth reading, and I look forward to meeting up with Fever again in A Web of Air.