By Philip Reeve
After Fever Crumb leaves London and the city’s irrational plan to become nomadic, she finds shelter in an unlikely environment for an engineer: a travelling theater. Her two young charges, Fern and Ruan, adore the theater barge, but even though Fever has been useful in electrifying the theater, she knows that she does not belong here. When the company reaches Mayda, she learns of a resident with an unusual passion – Arlo who is obsessed with flight. But Arlo has demons in his past, and worse, there are those who are bent on stopping him from realizing his dream to fly. As Fever sets out to help Arlo, she starts to feel true excitement over the technological wonder they are working on, and then complex feelings that her engineer background has not prepared her for.
I struggled a bit with Fever Crumb when I read it and found the same to be true for part of this book, but about midway began to connect with it in a greater way. The action is just right and the description of both Fever and Arlo are right on. Fever begins to realize that human emotion, while unreasonable, is powerful and unavoidable, and the ending is heartbreaking. If there is one thing these books are not, it is idealistic, so while I am looking forward to the third I know it may not be a happy ending.