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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Fever Rising is a dystopian action/adventure novel by author K.M. Riley. Citizens of the Federacy fall into two categories: the privileged Citizenry and the enslaved Castes. Our first hero of the tale is Kaden Valens, a young man whose very life depends on his servitude to his Sirdar. As a Challenger, Kaden faces the ultimate combat when he’s pitted against his sister, Nix. In a reflection of his parents’ enslavement, Kaden chooses another way, and his rebellion catches the attention of Cassidy Havok. True to her name, our feisty heroine understands the brutality of the lives of the Castes and Castless, and she seeks to change the system on a path of destruction and chaos. When Cassidy and Kaden join forces, this pair of wild rebels dreams of taking back their nation.
K.M. Riley draws on plenty of historical influences to make her brutal dystopia come to life, particularly from the gladiator system of ancient Rome and the caste system still prevalent in parts of modern-day India. In this melding of cultures, I felt the concept for the world was well-grounded, and once you get to grips with the labels placed upon the system and the hierarchy it upholds, the reading gets a lot simpler. If I had one critique, I’d say that Cassidy in particular becomes unrealistic and single-minded a little too often for me to really connect with her as a heroine, and I’d like to have seen more emotional development from Kaden. Overall though, Fever Rising is an exciting novel with a solid dystopian concept at heart.