The Electric Heir is a beautifully powerful story of healing and hope that has left me emotionally bereft for the last six weeks.
[bctt tweet=”The Electric Heir is an incredible end of Victoria Lee’s Feverwake duology. It’s a love letter to survivors, a beautiful story of healing and hope amidst so much darkness.” username=”kalventure”]
About The Electric Heir
Publisher: Skyscape | Release Date: March 17, 2020 | Pages: 480
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.
Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.
Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.
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My Review of The Electric Heir
This book is much darker than The Fever King and handles some very sensitive topics. Please be sure to read the content warnings at the bottom of my review and be sure you are in the right space before picking it up.
Friends, Victoria Lee has done it again! This book is nothing short of incredible; it took me 6 weeks to process and write this review and to be honest there is no way that I will find the words to give this book justice. If you’re sick of my incessant screaming about The Fever King… sorry (not sorry), but I won’t ever shut up.
“Maybe both governments did terrible things. Secret things. And the majority of the population continued on with their lives blissfully unaware, convinced of their own government’s benevolence in contrast to the evil of everyone else.”
The Electric Heir picks up six months after the events of The Fever King I re-read The Fever King before diving in to refresh my goldfish brain, but there was no need! Lee masterfully catches the reader up with the events of the prior book and the subsequent 6 months with a brief historical document at the start.
The Feverwake duology is intricately woven and excellently plotted. I never found myself lost or missing necessary information. The historical documents included randomly through the two books provide so much additional context that comes into focus upon a re-read; breadcrumbs of information that leaves the reader questing to fit everything together.
“The boy in this mirror was steel and frost and a bloodied knife. And he wasn’t afraid of anything.”
The world Lee crafted feels lived in and tangibly real; the world-building is vast and expands in this book as we get a glimpse of how other regions live. But the characters are what will rip your heart into pieces. I was so emotionally invested in the struggles of these characters that I was in a constant state of Anxiety for like the majority of this book. This book has high stakes, so my reading experience was largely screaming in DMs to Holly because I couldn’t keep my thoughts in and just needed to talk to someone about it.
I greatly appreciate that The Electric Heir has a dual perspective narrative. If the events of The Fever King left you wanting to act as bodyguard to Noam and Dara, you’d better prepare now. Both Noam and Dara are struggling to overcome their trauma and heal – and they have very different ideas of how to accomplish their goals. Despite the dark themes, this is not a bleak story. Hope is threaded throughout the narrative and acts as a driver for their actions.
“Maybe it was okay to admit helplessness. Maybe it didn’t make them weak. Not at all.”
Power is central to this duology and appreciate the exploration of power through the juxtaposition of political power with the ability to acknowledge personal vulnerability. In The Fever King, Noam and Dara seek to gain power; whereas in The Electric Heir they realize that power was kind of an illusion. Leher wields all of the power: both politically and personally. The patterns of abuse are explored as Noam and Dara come to terms with and learn not to blame themselves for their abuse.
“The only thing worse than the wrong choice was complacency.”
One of my favorite aspects of The Fever King is how it explores activism. Power corrupts, and The Electric Heir really delves into that nuance. Idealism gives way to a pragmatic utilitarianism as the realities of revolution and rule set in. Is it possible to maintain values in a world of compromise? And where does one draw the line for what values you will budge on? “Noam Álvaro seeks to end tyranny before he becomes a tyrant himself.”
“Anger was better than fear. It made people just as predictable, without making them liable to run.”
I swear, I didn’t know who to trust the entire time and my anxiety was running wild while reading this book! I had to put the book down multiple times to take a break, and thank goodness for Holly letting me screech to her in DMs because I had some feelings. I cried some big ugly tears while reading this one and honestly it’s hard to say goodbye to characters I’ve come to love so deeply.
Overall, Feverwake is a powerful and painful duology of processing both personal and intergenerational trauma, one which will stay with me for a long time. I’ll admit that reading books about a fictional plague during an actual worldwide pandemic is a little close to home, but it is such a beautiful story of healing and hope that I honestly cannot recommend enough.
Representation: bisexual main character, m/m relationship, racially diverse
Content warnings: (full list on author’s website) abuse, ableist language, attempted rape, drug and alcohol abuse, genocide, intergenerational trauma, mental health and suicide, slut-shaming, violence
eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect the contents of my review. Quotations are from an uncorrected proof and may be changed upon final publication. I have since purchased a finished copy.
Have you read The Fever King yet? Are you excited to see how this amazing duology ends in The Electric Heir? Let’s chat Feverwake in the comments!