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Fever Volume 1

About.com Rating 1.5 Star Rating

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Fever Volume 1 by  Hee Jung Park, published by TokyoPop

Fever Volume 1

© Hee Jung Park / TokyoPop

The Bottom Line

Just flipping through this first volume of Fever, it's easy to appreciate Hee Jung Park's elegant, contemporary artwork, and her sensitive, introspective approach to teen drama. However, this story unfolds artistically, but not always clearly.

Park introduces us to a trio of troubled teens, but by the end of Fever Volume 1, we're left puzzled by their connection to each other, what "Fever" is, and why there's very little romantic chemistry or compelling drama that would keep us coming back for more in Volume 2.

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Pros

  • Elegant, skillfully drawn storytelling with contemporary flair
  • Drama that's grounded in reality, with a modern melodramatic twist
  • Explores themes of teen alienation, anger and depression in an introspective, poetic style
  • Park adds some fun bits of slice of life humor to break up the dramatic tension

Cons

  • Characters are thrown together without really creating meaningful, dramatic connections
  • Story takes a while to develop, and readers are left at the end wondering 'So what now?'
  • The characters have a glazed, doll-like expression on their faces, which can be unnerving
  • There's a distinct lack of romantic chemistry or combustible drama between the characters
  • Roughly half of the Korean sound effects are left untranslated, leaving non-native readers puzzled

Description

  • Original Title: Fever (Korea)
  • Author & Artist: Hee Jung Park
  • Publishers: TokyoPop (US)
    Seoul Cultural Publishers Inc. / Shinwon Agency Corp. (Korea)
  • ISBN: 978-1427805324
  • Cover Price: $9.99 US / $11.99 CANADA / £6.99 UK
  • Age Rating: OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for teen suicide, violence and bullying
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: March 2008
    Korea Publication Date: 2003
  • Book Description: 208 pages, black and white illustrations
  • More Manhwa by Hee Jung Park:
    • Hotel Africa
    • Martin and John
    • Too Long

Guide Review - Fever Volume 1

After years of enduring the pressures of school and her family's expectations in silence, Hyung-in reaches her breaking point after shy classmate commits suicide. Feelings of alienation, anger and frustration simmer inside and threaten to overwhelm her. It is at this moment that she meets a friendly but mysterious boy on the bus, and the next thing she knows, she's spilling her heart out to him. Kang-dae hears her out, then he tells her that she's "selected" to join him at a place called "Fever."

Fever is a teen drama by bestselling manhwa creator Hee Jung Park, and in this first volume, we get a hint of the appeal of Park's storytelling. The artwork is elegant and modern, and the story is grounded in real problems and real emotions of contemporary teens. There's lots of introspective inner dialogue and Park illustrates her characters' emotional turmoil in poetic style.

But this impressionistic approach can make it tricky to understand what's going on. The story unfolds artistically, but not always clearly. I had to read and re-read this several times to sort out how the characters and plot pieces fit together.

Park's artwork is lovely – but her characters' doll-like expressions can be unnerving, especially when they violently act out, like when Hyung-in stabs a classmate with a pencil. Their blank expressions could also explain why there's very little romantic heat generated in Fever.

By the end of Fever Volume 1, we have a good idea who Hyung-in is, and what she's going through. On the other hand, we're left wondering why we've been introduced to volatile and impulsive Ji-Jun, his best friend Ah-in and Ah-in's flirtatious older sister Ah-rip. We also don't get many hints about how this trio will interact with Hyung-in and her new friend Kang-dae, much less what "Fever" is and why we should care enough to buy Volume 2 to find out.

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