Author: K.M. Riley
Narrator: Audra Cook
Length: 6 hours and 5 minutes
Publisher: Trifecta Publishing House
Released: Sep. 14, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopian
“I don't save, I kill. I don't build, I break. I don't run, I chase. And I won't rest until a new society is built on the System's ashes.” (Cassidy Havok)
Kaden Valens' world is kill or be killed. Such is the life of a Challenger, the property of a Citizen. Fight or die. When Kaden is ordered to face his sole family member, his sister, Nix, he chooses a different battle - one against the Federacy that owns him.
Rebel Cassidy Havok is the Federacy's worst nightmare. Her only goal is to bring down the government, doing whatever it takes to eradicate the slave-based society. When Kaden defies the Federacy publicly, she hopes to make an ally out of him, turning the tide in the resistance's favor.
Cassidy helps Kaden escape the clutches of the Citizenry, and they flee to the Wilds, the world outside the Federacy's reach. There they plan for the fight of a lifetime. Can they take on a nation, or is their cause a lost one?
K.M. Riley is not only a lover of stories, but she's a game designer, artist, and fan of all things imaginative. If she's not writing, she's daydreaming or doodling about more worlds and characters that will make great tales. With a background in Creative Writing, she's always busy creating new adventures, or taking part in them.
K. M. Riley delivers an interesting new take on the future Dystopian world, one where Oligarchs rule and slave fights are a mass form of entertainment and financial gains for the owners. That said, Dystopian world building can be tedious while the author is trying to craft the rules, the history and provide enough character development and story line to keep things moving forward. Ms. Riley does a decent job once the ball gets rolling.
The characters of Kaden, Cassidy and Nix are well done. Kaden remains a steadfast hero throughout the story and Cassidy is his source of intrigue and inspiration as she shifts from foe to ally and back. What this novel does well is delivers action and adventure. The story is well paced and the characters, for the most part, are developed enough for the reader to experience joy and sorrow with them throughout the intensely crafted storyline. There are moments where the plot feels muddy - whether this is a product of underwriting or over-editing is hard to tell when the vehicle is an audiobook. I love the high tech meets old world elements of Fever Rising. The cast system trope is regularly used in the YA and Dystopian genre so that is pretty typical but I thought the sub-sects were clever and I loved the Wilds, the Casteless people and the missions they undertook to rescue Wardens and others with gifts to build Cassidy's army. I also loved that the siblings, Kaden and Nix, had to come to terms with each other as adults and rebels, working together to help save their people when the causal fallout of their defection resulted in the Sirdars and the Prime destroying entire sectors as a message.
The narration was truly my least favorite part. At first it was so stilted I thought I had perhaps altered the speed on my app. There was very little inflection, character changes or even modulation for story pacing. It did get better about midway through the story. It was almost as if a different voice actor took over. I have heard Audra Cook read before and think she is quite good overall. This one just falls short for me.
Overall I give Fever Rising four (4) Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by K.M. Riley. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author K.M. Riley
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- To be honest, no. When I’m writing a book I focus on the story itself, having fun with what I’m envisioning. Characters are my favorite part to shape. Can they compel a reader to the world, the plot, to keep reading at all?
- How did you select your narrator?
- I had the auditioning narrators read one of the most compelling scenes from the book. To me, if they could capture that moment, that intensity between the characters, they could nail the rest of the narration.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- For the most part, I trusted my narrator to run with the story after a brief breakdown of pronunciation and descriptions. What mattered most to me was her portrayal of the characters. I wanted them to not only sound different, but they needed to feel as impassioned as the words they’re speaking aloud to the listener.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- Burnout is common everywhere. I work in video games, so I recognize when to stop and take a break. It’s the same with writing. Sometimes I’ll read a new series, draw a character I’m thinking of, or play excessive amounts of D&D. I let my imagination stay alive until get inspired again, keeping that enthusiasm alive in other forms.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Of course I’m a listener, that’s the best part about my commute. Audiobooks make it easy to do other things while listening to a story. Exercising, long drives, you name it. Whenever I can’t hold a book in my hands but crave a tale, that’s what they are there for.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Nonsense. Some avid “readers” have actual impairments. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to help those with disabilities, sharing a story regardless of obstacles. For those without impairments, it’s just another way to cram more books in. Either way, getting through a book is an achievement to be praised, not condemned based on method.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- Having done both, there’s something freeing about a stand-alone. For me, I had a single vision in mind, and all I wanted was to get that across, but not drag it out per se. Having a series means considering aspects beyond your first hook, a story that needs unfolding over more hurdles, thicker plots or complex character development. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad, it’s just a matter of what the author wants to write.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
- All the time. They reenact scenes with more complexity than I could have remembered to write down when I woke up. Sometimes, and without giving too much away, some of the characters have made it a point to romance since there was only alluding in the book.
- What’s next for you?
- Currently, I’m working on a narrative project at Hangar 13 that I’m incredibly excited about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it. Hopefully one day it’s something I can share. That said, I’m not done writing books; the next one is just beginning to take root in my imagination.
Author K.M. Riley's Dream Cast for Fever Rising
- Cassidy Havok - Chloe Bennet
- Kaden Valens - Chris Evans
- Nixandra Valens - Daisy Ridley
- Hunter Cath - Javier Bardem
- Liam Mercer - Tahj Mowry
- Sly Simmonds - Jeff Bridges
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
Fever Rising Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card
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