Bald, orphaned Apprentice Engineer Fever Crumb (whose alternative cover pic makes her look like a cross between Rumur Willis and Natalie Portman) is nothing if not ruthlessly, relentlessly rational. After all, that’s how she was raised, as the only female member of the scientific Order of Engineers in a post apocalyptic London. She knows that sentiments always get in the way of problem solving and it’s best to get rid of the troublesome things altogether if possible. That’s why she’s disturbed when on a routine mission to help a minor archaeologist who’s made a major find, she begins feeling shadowy emotions and seeing memories that she knows for certain are not her own. Could they be tied to the hidden tunnel and secret vault found by the easygoing archeologist Kit Solent? Why did he pick her out of all the Engineers to help him crack the vault? And why has the ancient information he needs suddenly popped into her fourteen-year-old head? What Fever discovers in that underground cavern is a secret about her background that will not only rock her own little bald brain, but bring the entire city of London to it’s knees—or rather, tracks. Because this little gem of a dystopian novel is actually the prequel to Philip Reeve’s beyond brilliant Mortal Engines quartet, about a future Europe where giant cities move about on huge traction wheels, fighting each other for resources and dominance in a way of life known as Municipal Darwinism. If you’ve not heard of the series, then by all means, start here! (Even though author Frank Cotrell Boyce disagrees) But if you’ve read all four books and are simply starving for more cut throat politics, edge of your seat action and juicy mysteries, then you’ll want to get your hands on this smokin’ hot tome asap. Reeve is at the top of his game here, poking gentle fun at current fantasy, “…celebrants in robes and pointed hats whirling and clapping and chanting the name of some old-world prophet, ‘Hari, Hari! Hari Potter!’” while also revealing the origin of one of his most beloved characters in a scene that made me gasp aloud. If your thirst for post-apocalyptic prose is anything like mine, this is one Fever you won’t mind catching.