Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Review: Fever - Dee Shulman

Title: Fever
Author: Dee Shulman
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Historical
Published: 5th April 2012 (Puffin)

A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . .

152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.

2012 AD. Eva is brilliant - but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.

An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart - because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?

I really don't know where to start with this one. I really wanted to like this book, on reading the summary it sounded so promising. Alas, I found it a struggle to get through. Before I say any more I'd like to make it clear that the author of this book can really write, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the writing style, and even the character development was good ... I just really didn't like the characters as people.

Let's start with Eva. Eva lives in current times. She's super intelligent and basically a massive geek. That I can deal with. It's expected considering she's going to go to a school for gifted kids. That she didn't really fit in at her old school - again fair enough. However, if being a genius wasn't enough, Eva's also extremely beautiful (apparently boys throw themselves at her and this makes girls hate her) and is musically talented as well. Even her 'flaws' are irritating. Essentially, her family don't understand her. Which again, somewhat understandable. However, it seems to have been taken to the extreme that because Eva got in trouble for skipping school a few times and that she's maybe a little hard to deal with, her mother seems completely uncaring. It seemed a bit forced to me and the fact it was repeatedly mentioned in Eva's narrative made me just want to tell her to get over it. Maybe if I'd liked her more, I'd have cared more ... but I didn't.

Seth is pretty much similar to Eva in that he's essentially perfect. Yes he's a slave and doesn't have his freedom but again, I didn't like him enough to care about his issues. Plus his obsession with Livia was annoying to me rather than romantic.

The book spent a long time on Eva and Seth's back story - which isn't always a bad thing, I like to know everything about characters I'm reading about, for me though it dragged due to the above points. I was also a little confused by the explanations of things. The author was very good at throwing in random knowledge about things and while clearly well researched, often it seemed pointless. Especially as when it got to the parts that needed explanation there wasn't much. Such as the alternative world Seth finds himself in. I still don't really get the hows and whys of that. Neither do I really understand the 'fever'. Maybe this is just me wanting to know more about it - I am a Scientist after all - but I felt that it wasn't fully explained.

While I was disappointed with this book, I have read many good reviews about it, so it's clearly a personal preference thing. Like I said, the writing is good and the concept was intriguing. I was just caught up in disliking the characters and unsatisfied by the explantions of the plot.

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