Abandoned and scared, but less alone than he could have ever imagined, Sam awakens to the screams of the other children on the island of Fervor, and the absence of all adults. To make matters worse, despite hearing this chaos in his head, he finds himself deaf to the normal sounds around him. His only answers are now being provided by a strangely charismatic boy named Francis who is about to lead Sam to a gathering that will alter his life. Why have things changed so drastically on the island, who is responsible for these changes, and what does this mean to the remaining inhabitants of Fervor?
This fine debut novel, which contains elements of science fiction, fantasy, and psychological thriller, tells the story of a bizarre experiment where 300 children in an island named “Fervor” woke up one day to big changes in their lives. All adults had left the island in a massive overnight exodus. Some had lost one of their senses while at the same time gaining an extraordinary ability, such as the ability to “find” or “fix” people and things, or compel others to do as they’re told. The latter so-called “Tellers”, along with children known as “Controls”, had foreknowledge that this day would come and had prepared to spring into action when it came.
Each teller had a list of five children who would become members of the “household” they would be heading up. Older children would be referred to as the “Bigs”, and the younger ones, the “Littles”. Every list would have a mix of Bigs and Littles, and the genders. In addition, every list would have a Control, Finder, Fixer, Keeper, and Watcher. Most of the 300 children — except for the Controls — are linked telepathically: they can “probe”, “send”, and “receive” thoughts freely. “Walls” can be “erected” to provide different degrees of privacy protection, but not against a Teller who can compel anyone to do as told, as long as that individual can be reached telepathically. Because Controls cannot be compelled by Tellers, they can counter a Teller’s attempt to abuse power.
This novel has the potential to become a series. This first installment focuses initially on the members of a specific household. Household 32 consists of Francis the Teller, Sam the Finder, Sarah the Fixer, Fiona the Keeper, Nathan the Watcher, and Royce the Control. All these main characters have different personalities and are quite interesting, and their struggles to escape from the island and find a way out of their predicaments make for an engrossing and suspenseful tale.
The plot advances smoothly and at a good clip. The ending, for me, is somewhat bittersweet and leaves open the possibility for a sequel.
I’m glad to have found Chantal Boudreau’s creatively crafted “Fervor” while searching for a fantasy novel to check out from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I’m looking forward to the possible next installment!