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Once Upon a Fever by Angharad Walker – Blog Tour Book Review

My copy of the book ‘getting a fever’ in the July 2022 Heatwave

About the Book

‘Disease begins with a feeling, Miss Darke. It has been that way ever since the turn – when people’s feelings first started making them ill …’

Since the world fell sick with fantastical illnesses, sisters Payton and Ani have grown up in the hospital of King Jude’s.

Payton wants to be a methic like her father, working on a cure for her mother’s sleeping fever. Ani, however, thinks the remedy for all illness might be found in the green wilderness beyond the hospital walls.

When Ani stumbles upon an imprisoned boy who turns everything he touches to gold, her world is turned upside-down. The girls find themselves outside the hospital for the first time, a dark mystery unravelling …

• The new novel from Angharad Walker, author of critically-acclaimed The Ash House

• Angharad’s writing evokes the clever, unique world-building and philosophical themes of Pullman’s His Dark Materials while remaining startlingly original

• The story follows two sisters in a London-inspired city full of fantastical illness and sprawling, gothic hospitals where dark secrets linger beneath the surface

Published by Chicken House as a flapped paperback 7th July 2022 | £7.99 | Ages 11+

Paperback flaps!

About the Author

Angharad Walker grew up on military bases in the UK, Germany and Cyprus, where stories were often being told about far-flung places, past conflicts, and friends and family. She studied English Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and the University of California Irvine. Her fiction has been published in Structo and A Mil- lion Ways, and her poetry has made it into Agenda broadsheets and Ink Sweat & Tears. She lives in South London. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications consultant for charities and not-for-profits. Follow her @angharadwalker on Twitter and Instagram.

What I Thought

It’s a heatwave in the U.K. today and what other than temperature rises in a heatwave. Emotions!

In Walker’s Lundain, feelings lead to fevers and sickness so people are taught to suppress their emotions, ever since the mysterious “Turn”.

Feelings are to be:

“Observed. Treated. Never Felt.”

The comparisons with His Dark Materials are well made with Jenipher Blake’s blood measure and blood purification the new evil in town. It also reminded me vibe wise a little of The Death House by Sarah Pinborough, What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang and even Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Sisters Ani and Payton haven’t always seen eye to eye but the one thing that they both want is to cure their mother of the water fever that keeps her comatose and away from them. Their father Neel Darke is a methic who they believe might not be trying as hard as they’d hoped to find a cure.

Payton believes in science and wants to be a methic too so when separated from Ani gets trapped in the shadow of the pedestal she’s placed Jenipher on. Payton has been keeping a secret about her ‘blood phobia’ too.

Ani is intrigued by the lost guild of Wilders – who focus on nature and in feeling what needs to be felt. There she meets a trio who begin to help her trust herself.

This book is very topical with pandemics and global warming very much in the here and now.

It says for 11+ and it does read a little more on the middle grade side but only because Ani and Payton are 11 and 13 respectively. I also got Anna and Elsa vibes from them. The themes included cross across age boundaries. In fact I looked back to the email which called it the perfect transitional read for 11+ year olds who aren’t quite ready for YA books.

I really enjoyed this book and devoured it quickly. The over medicalisation of emotions is a very interesting topic to me and I thought it was handed excellently. The only bad thing about the book is that I was left hoping it would be part of a series. It left me feeling that although it was concluded that there was more that could be said so if you like the sound of this please pick up a copy so we can get more.

Thanks to Laura and Chicken House for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone else thought too.

Blog Tour Poster

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren – Blog Tour 


Goodreads link 


Synopsis 

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

 

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

 

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

 

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.

Author


Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.

 
Website: https://www.ruthlauren.com/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruth__lauren

Instagram: www .instagram.com/ruth_lauren

What I Thought 

This was such a thrilling read with high stakes (both personal and societal) from the outset, and as a consequence had me zipping through to find out what happens. 

Prisoner of Ice and Snow was like a cross between Prison Break, Six of Crows, Nevernight, and the first Throne of Glass, with a strong central sisterly relationship (a la Frozen), but perhaps aimed at a slightly younger audience. 

Valor is such an awesome character. The book is told from her first person perspective. She’s a 13 year old willing to risk her own freedom for her twin but good enough to not walk over other people. I will admit to being a little ahead of her at times but I believe that was purposeful and for me doesn’t usually detract from enjoyment of a story. 

I really liked that although the main action was the attempted escape from the prison Tyur’ma that there was intrigue outside of this. If Valor’s sister Sasha is innocent of the crime she was said to commit who did it and why? 

The wider cast of characters were all interesting in their own right and I’m glad to hear a sequel is coming so hopefully we get to know even more about them and the world in which they live. 


Prisoner of Ice and Snow is out tomorrow so you can read it really soon. Do make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour too. Thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for my copy of the book for the purpose of this honest review. 

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