For What It's Worth

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Review: The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2) by Victoria Lee

In the sequel to The Fever King, Noam Álvaro seeks to end tyranny before he becomes a tyrant himself.

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. ~
Goodreads

Source: Thank you to MBC and Skyscape publishing for providing a copy of The Electric Heir in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Electric Heir is book #2, in Victoria Lee’s Feverwake duology.

A bit of a recap of what the series is about (no spoilers) – Book #1, The Fever King, takes place in the former US. There is a virus outbreak that either kills you or leaves you with magical abilities.

Refugees flee the magical outbreaks and are routinely deported (& worse) but the enigmatic minister of the Atlantians, named Calix Lehrer, takes on some of the children with enhanced magic as students to teach them the science behind their abilities and how to control it. No surprise here but he has ulterior motives and powerful magic of his own.

Noam Alvaro, an undocumented immigrant, is one of those students and he gets caught up in his plot for revenge against the government for what they did to his people, the allure of Lehrer’s politics and Lehrer’s son, the wild and beautiful, Dara Shirazi.

Back to the The Electric Heir (some spoilers if you haven't read book #1)  - The Fever King is very much about moral ambiguity. What are you willing to do for revenge or to make things right for your people. Every single character is walking that line and it’s one of the things I really loved about that book. Lee hinted at some things and left other things vague (content warnings for TFK)  – as to motivations and actual acts were (mostly) described off page.

The Electric Heir is a different beast entirely. While Noam may still feel torn about his choices and allegiances – he’s clearly under the influence of a master manipulator and abuser. And where things were hinted at or spoken about  – they are fully on page here – so be sure to read Lee’s content warnings. This includes, but is not limited to, statutory rape, sexual abuse of a minor, attempted rape, victim blaming… It was incredibly difficult to read but I do think the author handled it very well. Not indulging in the descriptions for titillation sake and really delving into not only being a victim but also a survivor of abuse. And how that plays out differently for different people.

Noam is now with Lehrer, playing a game with his mind, body and magic that might cost him his life as he works as a double agent to stop Lehrer. Dara has made it to the outside and is horrified to see Noam falling victim to the same things he survived, ironically, thanks to Noam. Whereas Dara was the lost soul of book #1, it’s now Noam that needs saving. Watching the two try to work this out while working out their feelings from the abuse by the same man was incredibly sad at times.

As such, the tone of this book is very different. It’s more psychological than action – although the big fight to overthrow Lehrer and save it’s people is still an important plotline. There are big battle scenes, magic, science and the parallels to current events that made the first book so exciting.

I know I’m making this book sound too tough to read and it does warrant the warnings. However, I think the overall arc is a wildly inventive one that delves into characters in a way that most series don’t and I loved that. I do think because of how important the subject was, and how well Lee handled it, some minor characters didn’t get fleshed out as well and the politics took a bit of a backseat this time around.

Definitely not a happy go lucky kind of read but well written, topical, with a solid conclusion that despite all odds – left me happy and hopeful.

22 comments:

  1. I haven't read the first one and I am not sure I will? But while it does sound like this book has a lot you need to keep track of and keep up with in order to read it, it does sound like it's very creative and a lot of fun!

    Olivia-S @ Olivia's Catastrophe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The magic was easy for me to follow but the politics were a bit confusing. It parallels current reality but different enough that I get confused easily lol

      But it was a really interesting series that didn't shy away from tough topics.

      Delete
  2. Great review darling. I think its important to see authors tackle these tough subjects ....they aren’t always easy to read but they are needed from time to time. And yay for the politics taking the back seat. We need more of that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the politics took too much of a back seat because that's the point of the series - but it was more focused on the battle between Lehrer, Noam and Dara and how it effected them personally.

      Delete
  3. Alas put off by the mention of statutory rape, sexual abuse of a minor, attempted rape and victim blaming. Still each to their own. It says something about the writing when you can conclude that your were left happy and hopeful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really want to point out that it's AGAINST all those things. The abuse comes from the perpetrator trying to get the victim believe it's their own fault but ultimately shows them working through it and realizing that's not true.

      This is not one of those grey area/romanticized kind of books about abuse.

      Delete
  4. I haven't read this one but it sounds interesting. I'm glad to hear that you seem to have enjoyed this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first book was very different. I liked the conclusion but I probably wouldn't have read this one without the first because of the subject matter.

      Delete
  5. Some very heavy subjects there, but it the author handled them well, then maybe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She really did because, unfortunately she knows from experience.

      Delete
  6. I haven't heard of this one before (and don't think I've heard of the first one in the series either). I like the premise but I don't think I'd want the heavy subject matter even if it left me happy and hopeful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it was tough and not for everyone.

      Delete
  7. It makes sense that this one deals with the tougher topics more than the first did, since so much has been set up already, etc. I'm glad it was handled well - it'll be tough to read, I know, but I am excited to see how everything plays out.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know what you think of it Lauren!

      Delete
  8. I really, really need to read this series! Thanks for sharing! I have a love/hate relationship with the fact that my TBR keeps growing! Haha! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello, I loved this post, I have been most interesting. I really like to read, I write it down for future readings.
    I loved your post, I did not know your blog, do you want us to follow each other? you tell me Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  10. I haven't read book one as yet so needed to skim your spoilers section but I had no idea the series was so intricate! It sounds incredible Karen. I haven't seen many reviews around for this but hoping more readers will pick up a copy, it sounds brilliant! Wonderful review Karen and hope you're keeping well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is intricate. A great character study too.

      Delete
  11. Definitely dives in to some really heavy topics. I’m not sure it’s something I can read right now (my head is in such a weird place I feel like I need to load up on happy fluffy unicorn rainbow reads lol), but I’m glad you enjoyed ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. VERY heavy and it isn't going to be something that everyone can read but good for people who need it since I feel like ti was done responsibly.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for sharing your review. 👍✨

    ReplyDelete