[REVIEW] Fevered Star, by Rebecca Roanhorse

The black and white cover of Fevered Star is seen from above resting in the lap of a woman in a pink and white striped summer dress, a Thai iced tea with boba balanced on one knee.

(Buy this book!)

Let me just rip the band-aid off; meh.

I wanted to love this book because of what it is. I love fantasy that steps away from the hoary old medieval Europe tropes. This series, set in a world based on pre-Columbian South American cultures, follows a clash between age-old forces of light and dark and should be right up my alley.

And it is, in a way. The first installment, Black Sun, established the characters, displayed some truly brilliant, epic world-building, but the story was just okay. This, the second in the series, didn’t really ring any bells no matter how hard I mentally begged it to.

Part of it is that middles of trilogies are tricky. It’s hard to fit them in that sweet spot where they keep the story going and introduce just enough newness while reinforcing everything the first book did. This book tries to do all of that, but mostly it had me asking “why” a lot.

mild spoilers coming

WHY would you take a magical singing semi-mermaid sea captain and have her trek overland for the whole book only to deus ex gambit her back into the sea right at the end of the book?

WHY would you take the Sun Priestess, return her to her slum origins to rediscover her humanity, then have her realize her true power is magic and deus ex gambit her off into a random point of lore right at the end?

WHY would you take the living embodiment of the shadowy Crow God, last seen assassinating everybody out here so hide your kids hide your wife, have him mope around being lonely, pitiful and lost for the whole book, only to deus ex gambit him into Supreme Evil Mwahaha territory right at the end?

WHY would you take a mysterious third-gender assassin and–no. Wait. Scratch that. Iktan is perfect. Best character in the book. May xe live forever.

There was too much wandering and not enough happening in this book, and the characters and world-building suffered due to the plot being too diffuse.

It’s not that I didn’t like it, exactly. It’s just that the ending had better hit a major home run to bring this all together, otherwise these magical characters and their world will all feel a bit wasted.

3 stars and some plot armor to Fevered Star.

(Beautiful people, this one was a bit disappointing but Indigenous writers are still consistently killing the game and you should check out this booklist for more. Don’t forget that we have an affiliate relationship with Bookshop, and if you purchase anything there after clicking a link from here, we’ll earn a commission. Now, go read something good!)

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