Book Review: Fever By Dee Shulman

Author: Dee Shulman
Genre: Young Adult, Time Travel,
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 5th April 2012
Goodreads 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 }

Fever by Dee Shulman is about Sethos Leontis, a gladiator, and Eva, a modern school girl. Both characters have unfortunate encounters with a mysterious virus in their own timelines that somehow bring the two characters together. I can’t really say any more than that without giving a lot of the plot away, though, to be honest, I wouldn’t really know where to start because the a good chunk of the plot was unexplained anyways.
I very, very rarely write negative reviews, but I really struggled with Fever. I was initially interested in this book because I liked the idea of modern and classical worlds colliding, though I was slightly dubious about the addition of some sort of virus that connects the two of them – and rightly so. This novel had a pretty promising start, but it wasn’t long before it went sourly downhill. A quarter of the way through, nothing had actually happened yet. Half of the way through, the two main characters hadn’t even met yet. Three quarters of the way through and I don’t think Sethos and Eva have even had a proper conversation yet. In fact, I don’t think they ever have a real conversation at any point in the entire book. The time travel aspect of this novel was really downplayed and I don’t think it was actually a main theme of the novel. It was just another thing in this book that sort of happened without explanation. Now thinking about it, the idea behind the time travel is actually pretty unique, but it’s a shame that I didn’t even notice that whilst first reading it because everything else was so awful. I have also just realised that the main mystery of this novel, the virus, goes unexplained for the entire novel, and not in a don’t-worry-it’s-in-the-next-novel way, but in a it-seems-to-have-been-forgotten way. I’m about to start reading Delirium, book two in this series, but I’m really not expecting much, I just really want to find out if this book gets any better and I’m hoping that the gaping holes left in Fever will be filled in.
I really wasn’t feeling the relationship between Eva and Sethos. For starters it was insta-love that had absolutely no basis. Well, I suppose the basis of their love was the fact that they had somehow kinda met before, but even that mysterious meeting led to insta-love – and I hate insta-love. This book had possibly the worst case of insta-love I’ve ever read about. In most cases, it’s love at first sight but as the characters are rather suited for each other you forgive them. In Fever, it was literally love at first sight, as in, no communication whatsoever and suddenly they’re so-in-love-with-each-other-they-could-die (I mean that literally too). I saw no connection whatsoever and it was only worsened by the fact that the way the story was written made me think that Sethos was a lot older and more mature than Eva
Initially I really liked Eva. She seemed like a cool girl who was coping fairly well for a teenager with a pretty crap home life. However, as the story progressed, she got more and more pathetic. Technically, this isn’t a fault of the character and more a fault in the plot, but as the virus started to affect Eva more and more, I felt like she was losing more of the character that I had liked so much in the beginning. By the end of the novel, she was basically unrecognisable – and not in a good way. Eva wasn’t the only character who underwent such a dramatic change in the novel, in fact, pretty much all of the main characters, and a few minor characters do, and it just made no sense to me. It was literally like they had been replaced by completely different characters that bore no resemblance to their original selves and most of the changes were not even provoked.
This is probably the most negative review that I’ve ever written, and I’m sorry if it sounds a bit like a rant, but when I got going, I realised I disliked more and more of this book. I’ve seen a large mix of reviews of Fever, with some giving it high praise and others giving it a mere one star. Unfortunately, I’m with the negative reviewers on this one as I really didn’t like this book and I don’t really understand what the positive reviewers see in it. I wouldn’t recommend this book as large chunks of the plot are unexplained and there are sudden character developments which aren’t really in keeping with the events going on in this book.
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