SFF

The Fever King

Amazon. (Feverwake, Bk. 1). Mar. 2019. 417p. ISBN 9781542040174. $16.99; pap. ISBN 9781542040402. $9.99. SF
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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.

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