Title: A Touch of Fever
Series: Arcane Hearts: Book One
Author: Nazri Noor
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 262 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: A Touch of Fever is full of lots of fun and adventure, but that’s not all. There’s some poignancy to the story as well, as Jackson and Xander came to realize that valuing yourself sometimes evolves from being valued greatly by someone else, and I loved that for them.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: What do you do when you can’t cast spells? You make your own magic.
Jackson Pryde was never great at wielding magic. Instead, he works as an artificer, crafting enchanted devices in the Black Market, a shadowy bazaar of wonders. But Xander Wright, the mouthy, pretentious mage next door, hates all the hammering in Jackson’s workshop.
When a chance assignment forces them to team up, they discover a terrifying predicament. Something is driving members of the magical community into murderous rages. Jackson and Xander must combine might and magic to find the source of the Fever and stop it. Can they put aside their differences long enough to end the Fever, or will they succumb to its bloodthirsty curse?
Review: Back in 2016, I discovered author Soren Summers’ Vertex series, a sublime tale of the horrors that befall a society when man plays God, ostensibly for the greater good of mankind. What could possibly go wrong? The answer: Everything, but mostly zombies. The books, unfortunately, are not available at this time, but that doesn’t mean he has stopped writing—good news for anyone who loves rich world building and the depths and breadths of imagination needed to craft an absorbing story. Nazri Noor has now dropped the Summers penname, and his newest release, A Touch of Fever, is something to indulge yourself in if you love to dive into a good urban fantasy.
The Black Market is a place that exists on the edges of earth’s reality. It’s a roulette wheel of a bazaar and the bizarre—spin it and try to guess where it’ll land as various strains of magic course through its very essence. But not for Jackson Pryde. He’s an artificer who creates his own brand of magic, though the craft he’s constantly working to perfect has lost its esteemed place among those who possess innate arcane talents. People tend to look down on Jackson, in fact, maybe even pity him, and people like his neighbor and once best friend, Alexander Wright, who comes from an old-monied family, attended the best school of magic and has prodigious skills to show for it, will gladly file noise complaints against Jackson for the racket almost constantly emanating from his workshop. It goes without saying, really, that this is a friends-to enemies-to lovers story, but I’ll say it anyway because their working together, while not what you would call voluntary, slowly evolves into a team investigation to pinpoint exactly why people appear to have started spontaneously combusting, and, of course, the laws of forced proximity win again as they prove there’s more than just elemental fire to heat things up between them.
The agency that acts as supernatural law enforcement, SEER, believes they’ve already got the perpetrator in custody, so why keep investing? Case closed. But this mysterious Fever all hits a bit too close to home for Jackson’s friend Preston, so he and Xander team up with Preston and their friend Beatrice and set out to discover what’s driving people to commit murder as well as to prove who and what is behind it. That they have to go through a goddess to get what they need means Noor leads readers on an adventure that’s full of danger and wonder in a place that’s truly a character unto itself. The sass and snark are on point, tensions run high to the benefit of the story and investigation, and Jackson is as charming and flawed as I could want a narrator to be.
A Touch of Fever is not all fun and adventure, though. There is a poignancy to Jackson’s backstory that’s undeniable and goes a long way towards making him who he is at this point of his life. And undoubtedly he’s on the verge of discovering new and unexpected things about himself. Equally poignant is Xander’s feelings of duty to elevate his family name into the upper echelon of magic practitioners, a family that doesn’t seem to care about him much, but he is willing to do this at the expense of himself, which made the rekindling of his relationship with Jackson all the more significant. They both came to realize that valuing yourself sometimes evolves from being valued greatly by someone else, and I loved that for them.
Take all these good things into account and then add a gryphon, Zephyr, and AI, Lore, who are absolute scene-stealers, and I was left feeling pretty chuffed that this is the first book of a new series. While the mystery storyline in A Touch of Fever is wrapped up, I get the distinct feeling there are so many more fun things to see and do in this world, especially between Jackson and Xander. And probably more danger too.
You can buy A Touch of Fever here:
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