Review: A Web of Air

4.25 out of 5 stars A Web of Air, by Phillip Reeve (Fever Crumb #2)

IMG-7659Fever Crumb meets a boy! Of course he’s a wacky recluse genius dreaming of flight. They’re perfectly imperfect for each other.

[Spoilers Ahead] After fleeing London at the end of Fever Crumb, Fever and the Solent children join – what else?! – a traveling circus. Well, it’s a theater, really. She puts her engineering knowledge to good use, the kids to play surrounded by pseudo-parents, and herself on the roads of London’s yet-undetermined future. Reeve writes joyously about the motley crew of actors who become Fever’s family.  But when they stop at Mayda, an intriguing island with a mysterious resident, Fever’s curiosity wins out.

IMG-7658Arlo Thursday is a boy trying to build a flying machine. In the stationary world before The Mortal Engines, this idea strikes Fever as romantic and exciting. But some want to eliminate the pursuit of heavier-than-air flight because it’s too modern, or too free. Fever instantly knows she can help Arlo perfect his device – if only he’ll let her.  Despite his refusals, she stays behind when the the traveling theater leaves. She succeeds in getting into Arlo’s work, and into his trouble. A Web of Air turns into a quick, fun cat-and-mouse (seagull?) thriller, as they work to get airborne before Arlo’s enemies can put them underground.

Fever is exceptionally well-written, so much so that I was never mad at her inability to emote. It felt entirely natural to read. That’s tough to do – make a reader feel what it’s like not to feel. This is as far – and as unique and creative – from a typical YA girl-meets-boy as you can get. And all the more enjoyable for it.

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