- A Web of Air
In this sequel to Fever Crumb (BCCB 6/10), Fever is now sixteen and doing her best to care for orphans Ruan and Fern, whose father was killed and reanimated as a warrior in the army of London’s new ruler. The kids and Fever are far away, journeying with a traveling barge-theater, where Fever, in spite of her obvious distaste for something as impractical as theater, uses her engineering skills to rig up electric lights for performances. This routine works until they reach Mayda, a small town where Fever meets Arlo, a brilliant, tortured boy who will show her new possibilities of flight (a sharp contrast to the clunky, impossibly slow-moving city still being pursued back in London) and inspire uncomfortable (non-sensible) feelings of love in the previously distant protagonist. Fever is still very much herself, all sharp edges and moments of vulnerability, and the addition of Arlo, orphaned and consumed with the unlikeliest of obsessions, is an intriguing contrast: they are brilliant but so dissimilar in terms of what drives them. There is a curious heaviness to the novel, an occasional flatness that belies the gorgeous, often ethereal quality of the new town, of Arlo, and even of the stolid but secretly romantic Fever. Fans who hoped to see how London is faring or wanted more engineers will have to settle for brief glimpses, but readers who returned for more Fever will, in spite of the minor aforementioned issue, be richly rewarded.