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The Fever King


The Fever King

THE FEVER KING is Victoria Lee’s debut novel. It is also the first book in the Feverwake series, with book two, THE ELECTRIC HEIR coming out next year. And let me say, I can’t wait for it!


When I first heard about THE FEVER KING, I didn’t immediately look into it. I wasn’t sure if it would be my thing. But then, I saw Victoria Lee talking on Twitter about promo for the book related to Durham. My ears perked up at that, considering I live in a city called Durham. As it turns out, THE FEVER KING takes place in Durham, NC, which is where I live! When I researched the book and found out it was about magical gays, I knew I wanted to read it ASAP.


One of my favorite things about THE FEVER KING is its sense of place. As someone who grew up in Durham, a lot of the locations are recognizable. While the book takes place about 200 years in the future, the layout of the city is still the same. For example, the old bookshop the main character Noam grows up in? That just happens to be The Regulator Bookshop, where I work! There’s Carolina National University, which today is Duke University East Campus. There’s the National Cybersecurity Bureau, which is currently the Durham Performing Arts Center. The setting of Durham is an important aspect of THE FEVER KING, and I feel lucky to know the city well.


Basically every character in this book is a disaster. They’re all disasters in their own ways, but disasters nonetheless. The main character Noam is pretty awesome, but can be a little too trusting. He gets magical powers and meets his hero. We, the reader, can guess from the beginning that we probably shouldn’t trust said hero, Calix Lehrer, but Noam doesn’t know better. Noam is stubborn in his beliefs, and once his mind is made up about a person then it’s hard to change it. While I liked that about him, I also kinda wanted to shake him.


Although Noam has the only POV, there is another main character, Dara, who Noam develops a crush on. How I feel about Dara is complicated. On the one hand, he has been treated horribly by certain people he should have been able to trust. For that alone, I hope he’s eventually able to live out in the country with his goats (you’ll get it if you read the book). That said, due to his trauma Dara is a hot mess. I started to love his hot mess as some things were revealed, but there were other things that made it emotionally hard for me to completely like him. That said, I have a feeling book two will wrap up any lingering negative emotions I have.


The plot of THE FEVER KING is a slow build. It’s very much a first book in the series, with Noam learning how to use his abilities and adjusting to his new world. That ratchets up in the final third of the book or so. The final few chapters are rather explosive. Personally, I don’t think they quite fit the tone for the rest of the book, but I think they were probably necessary for the events of book two. I’m also a little confused about what exactly happened during the final few chapters, and where exactly Noam’s head is at by the end. But, these are all things that should be explained/wrapped up in book two, so not too big of a deal.


Overall, THE FEVER KING is a great book. It can be hard to read for readers with certain issues, so I recommend checking out the author’s list of content warnings on her blog. If you’re an activist, you’ll likely love this book. Noam is constantly fighting for refugee rights and it has some great LGBTQ+ rep. Overall a great book, and I hope more people pick it up!

Reviewed by Isabel Coyne on January 9, 2019

The Fever King
by Victoria Lee