After I had reviewed the Fever King last year, it kind of stuck around in my head, and I thought of it quite a lot. I’m not obsessing about books, ever, nope, totally healthy human being here, yuuup. It was definitely in the top five of 2019 for me, impact wise. So I was very excited to get approval for the Electric Heir on Netgalley, and oh, was I in for a treat! While the Fever King was good, I couldn’t put its sequel down, nor get my head out of the story…
RELEASE DATE: 17/03/2020
STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶
SYNOPSIS: 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.
OPINIONS: First of all, these books are AMAZING, and everyone needs to read this duology. It’s a crime that they haven’t been published in the UK yet, and I keep pushing them at everyone asking me for SFF with LGBTQIA+ rep – they address so many issues on different layers of the story and do it incredibly well. These books are like an onion of representation to pick apart and enjoy while making you think and consider the individual issues both by themselves and in combination. I can’t remember if the same thing was the case with The Fever King, but I really appreciate how content warnings were handled in The Electric Heir – there is a note at the front saying that the book contains potentially triggering content, and that more information could be found in the back. This makes it obvious, and clear where to find detailed information for those who need it and invalidates any ‘spoiler’ arguments that people seem to keep having against trigger warnings.
The Electric Heir picks up six months after the end of The Fever King. Everyone’s situation has changed, and traumatizing, atrocious things have happened to both Noam and Dara. They are still teenagers, still growing up and figuring out who they are in the middle of everything going on, and both struggle heavily with admitting that events have affected them and that they might need help. Victoria Lee manages to write their trauma extremely well, making them lose none of their humanity or letting anything seem overdone. They, and their supporting cast, are well-nuanced, growing characters with tangible moral compasses, struggling to figure out how to navigate a broken world and difficult situations, while fighting someone who might be one of the creepiest villains I have ever encountered: Calix Lehrer and his powers of mind control.