Fevered Star - Book Review
by Rebecca Roanhorse
Fantasy (Series, part 2)
Saga (Simon & Schuster)
While it didn’t blow me away like Black Sun, Fevered Star is a worthy sequel that serves to answer questions, raise the stakes, and deeply entertain the reader.
There are no spoilers in this review, but because it’s part 2, even the blurb has some spoilers for the first book.
What is it about?
The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.
The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?
As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.
And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?
While I definitely enjoyed the novel and thought it was so much fun, it’s focused on setting-up book three. A great deal of time is spent on maneuvering the characters into position for what can only be a war. Perhaps it’s because I read way too many books (can you though?), I had some trouble remembering how the city functioned in book one. I remember Naranpa in the tower and definitely Xiala and Serapio on the boat, but the rest took a while to come back. Either way, it’s not too hard to follow - it’s people wanting control of the city both inside and out.
We also learn some interesting backstory about magic in the world, and there is a twist with Xiala’s story that, to be honest, I wasn’t super thrilled about (as we’ve seen this sort of thing before).
One thing I liked a great deal is that we won’t be getting the “I thought you were dead” moment - this is a trope that always annoys me and I was really happy this was avoided. This trust, that they'd get back to one another, showed their deep care and trust.
There were some really fabulous scenes in this novel that were either very exciting or very impactful. Roanhorse really excels at fight scenes or moments of high tension and while there weren’t as many in this novel as the previous, when they do appear they are entrancing.
The novel is broken into three main storylines with a smaller fourth one, though sometimes side characters take a point of view as well. This kept the story moving but at the same time, it felt like we didn’t get enough time with everyone. The pacing was also a little off. It felt like it took time to build momentum - with a lot of travelling and people having to figure stuff out - and then ended when it started to peak. Likewise, when it came to the politics, there were too many new or side characters so their squabbles felt like just that: squabbles, and not the basis for war.
Yet, even if the politics felt a bit thin, the characters are the (fevered) star and I am definitely interested in seeing where they go and end up.
The book is an incredibly fast read. I was shocked at how quickly I blew through it, but Roanhorse has such an easy-to-digest style it could have been five hundred pages with no complaint from me. I really enjoyed it and look forward to book three!