Author: Dee Shulman
Series: Fever #1
Published: 5 April 2012 by Puffin
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: non-descript kissing, sex references, violence in gladiatorial context 12+
Other info: Dee has written and illustrated many other books. This is her first for the YA audience. On Death Books and Tea, we took part in Operation Fever. You can read an extract and see trailers here.
Summary : 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?
Review: Eva is a girl who’s starting a new life at a school for gifted children. Sethos (aka Seth) is a Roman gladiatior, brought from Greece to England as a slave and forced to fight. Both come extremely close to death, and are infected by a virus. The virus is what brings them together, but it’s also what will keep them apart.
Time travelly romance isn’t something there’s a lot of, and there should be more of. I definitely like the idea, although the whole “Eva is Seth’s love from gladiatorial time” is typical and was really predictable.
There’s a whole load of research involved in this. And it showed. I think. I’m not an expert on virology and such, but everything was so well built, so detailed that either Dee researched or made everything up in crazily good proportions.
Eva and Seth are similar characters. They’re both strong and determined in their own way, and each have their own fair shares of trouble in both of their lives. Eva’s experiences at the new school were realistic-falling in and out of friendships and getting to know her way around. She’s very clever and resourceful, and likeble. Seth is ok, and while he’s really determined to get things done, sometimes I just felt like saying to him “calm down. Don’t be so overdramatic. Slow down. Don’t expect Livia/Eva to understand everything”. The other characters were interesting and believable.
The two worlds, Roman and Modern London, were very well described, with the right atmosphere of the places being evoked. Roman London especially-you got a good idea of Seth’s ideas of the fights and the crowd hysteria and importance of fighting for a living.
Parallon is a totally different thing. After Seth and his friend Matthias die, they don’t end up in the afterlife they believed in. Instead, there’s an almost empty London, mainly modern, where they are immortal, can do anything they want, can make things appear and such and such. They’re like gods. And then you get the little subplot about Matthias bringing people to Parrallon. It was predictable, and from the moment with the motorbike, it was kind of obvious what he’d do. I don’t think that that little subplot was wrapped up very well, if at all. Hopefully it’ll be done addressed in book 2.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to an enjoyable romance with a different spin on it.