✨Age Range: Young adult
✨Series: 2nd in a duology
✨Publication Date: 17th March, 2020
✨Publisher: Skyscape (US)
✨Format I Read: Kindle e-book
✨Content Warning: Violence, substance abuse and more
Spoiler alert for The Fever King
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.
Characters and Representation in The Electric Heir
Victoria Lee is the best at crafting characters and her talent shines in this book. Although Noam was the main character, we also got Dara’s perspective in this book because of the dual POV narrative. I felt that Dara’s character arc was much more than compelling Noam’s in both the books.
Not only do we get to see different sides of Dara and Noam, but the secondary characters also gain much more importance in the plot, especially the other Level IV students. It had hints of the found family trope and it was heartwarming to see that play out in this book. I also liked the new additions to the cast and my favourites were Priya and Claire.
I really appreciated how the romance was developed in a believably angsty way in the sequel. Noam and Dara’s relationship was sharply contrasted with Noam and Lehrer’s and it was chilling to see both develop as Noam made one bad decision after another. This made the final scene between Dara and Noam even more emotional for me.
Plot and World-Building in The Electric Heir
The plot picked up right where the previous book left off and the stakes were high from page one. It dealt with the aftermath of Lehrer’s coup and focused more on Carolinia’s relationship with its neighbours. Noam’s choices and character flaws drove the plot forward at a feverish pace.
The politics, intrigue and espionage were dialled up a notch from the first book. Lehrer became much more of a visible and tangible threat in The Electric Heir. It made me root for my ragtag group of witchings and rebels even more.
However, I didn’t like the ending as I felt it was a bit rushed and wrapped up a little too neatly. It had a fade-to-black resolution after the climax and the scenes after that were confusing. I don’t know if the finished copy has the same ending, so take this criticism with a grain of salt.
Writing Style and Themes in The Electric Heir
I love how we got the story in different formats and how they added a new dimension to the storytelling. I felt that these scenes in The Electric Heir mirrored the plot much more than the ones in The Fever King. It was also a clever way to add more layers to Lehrer’s character, which I particularly enjoyed.
The writing was simple and easy to read that the target audience of the book will certainly enjoy. There was quite a bit of swearing, so be aware of that if it’s something that you’re particular about. The dialogue was well-written and there were many memorable quotes in the text.
Victoria Lee also handled heavy topics such as substance abuse, sexual abuse and manipulation with care and thoughtful insight, which I really admired about both the books. I liked how they tied into the character development of both the primary and secondary characters. The only thing that slightly put me off was that Dara was a legal adult and Noam was not.
If you are looking for a young adult dystopian series with queer representation, I highly recommend this book. If you are comfortable with reading a dark narrative about immigration, oppression and the corruption of power, this book is for you. However, it comes with a host of trigger warnings, so be sure to check them out before diving into the book.
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Is this book on your TBR? What are your thoughts on it? Have you read any good dystopian fiction lately that you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments section down below. Have a stellar weekend, readers from Earth!