Noam had crawled his way into Dara’s mind and planted himself there, a root system tangled into Dara’s thoughts and Dara’s telepathy.
Welcome, welcome to my stop on The Electric Heir Blog Tour! There honestly aren’t enough words to express just how excited I am to be a part of this tour and continue to share my undying love for this book, this series, these characters, and literally anything Victoria Lee will ever write (I’m just calling it now).
You’ll find my favourite quotes sprinkled throughout the review, and a few extra special ones at the end that, when I read them, burst immediately into my head as fully formed images—and have since seared themselves into the back of my mind until the time comes that I am able to illustrate them.
Also, don’t forget to follow along to the rest of the tour stops and enter the giveaway for your chance to win a finished copy of The Electric Heir (US only).
Publisher: Skyscape | Pages: 480 | Release Date: March 17, 2020
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.
You can find The Electric Heir on Goodreads, Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Book Depository. There is also a webtoon for the series, which you can read here (trust me, the art is incredible)!
I’m not going to fully admit to how many times I’ve started, stopped, and re-started writing this review. How do I even begin to put together the words that will do justice to not only The Electric Heir itself, but also the distinct experience that of reading it?
The Electric Heir is, in the absolute sense of the word, a tour de force. It’s dark and brutal and it’s uncomfortable and it’s messy, and within that it is so unashamedly honest. Lee’s dedication clearly states that this is a book for survivors, and it’s precisely that. It reaches for all those dark and uncomfortable and messy parts of your soul, and it takes hold of them with a certain sort of tenderness as if to remind us that things are, ultimately, going to get better. They can get better, and they will.
When they were together, it didn’t matter what the rest of the world thought—if they saw Noam as a victim or a traitor, if they deigned to consider Dara at all. Noam didn’t want them to be defined by the worst things they’d survived.
For me, the strength of this series has always been the characters, and The Electric Heir continues that pattern. Lee brings each and every character to life, each with their own intricate nuances that make them feel so real, jumping off the page and demanding nothing short of complete and total investment from the reader (be it for better or for worse). None of them are perfect, existing outside of both stereotype and expectation and exemplifying that there is no one “right” way to exist.
And here’s the thing: I just…completely, absolutely love both Noam and Dara. They both captured my heart when I first read The Fever King just over a year ago, to the point that I’ve thought about them every day since (and no, that’s not an exaggeration). I’ve been utterly terrified over what was in store for them in The Electric Heir, because as far as fictional characters go, there are few I think deserve a happy ending more than these two.
A year ago, Noam would have answered without hesitation. A year ago, he wanted nothing more than to make his anger into something caustic and violent: a tool he could use.
And maybe he was still willing to burn half the world down if it meant justice for all the people Lehrer killed. For his parents. For Dara.
Lee handles both their individual, and interwoven, character arcs throughout The Electric Heir with such care. (Honestly, this is an overarching trend for every aspect of this series.) It physically hurt to witness the developments in Noam’s life—particularly in regards to his relationships—as things so obviously spiraled out of control (despite his best efforts, and regardless of telling himself otherwise). Thirty pages in and already I was reeling, needing to set the book down to collect myself. I had to prepare myself to continue, because even though deep down I had known it was coming, a part of me was still hoping I had just…read it wrong.
I think the hardest part of Noam’s journey is seeing his moments now in The Electric Heir that so clearly reflect Dara’s moments then in The Fever King. It hurts because you’ve seen this happen already, and find yourself wishing desperately for Noam to make this same realization—to become aware of his abuse. It’s even harder to watch as Dara, who has been in that same position, desperately tries to get Noam to realize it as well.
“But. You’re strong. He won’t break you like he—”
His throat closed around the rest.
Noam’s inhale was sharp, audible. He lifted his hand and slid chilly fingers into Dara’s shorn-short hair. “You aren’t broken, Dara.”
One of my favourite elements of The Electric Heir is how we are given, for the first time, another perspective. After having spent the entirety of The Fever King inside Noam’s head, it was such an incredible experience to finally see inside Dara’s. Not only because we get a perspective so different than Noam’s perceptions of Dara for a large part of The Fever King, but because we are given such intimate access to Dara’s thoughts during his recovery.
As much as I love Noam, if I had to pick a favourite from the series, it would be Dara. His arc in The Electric Heir is incredibly powerful, and for just that reason: over the course of overcoming his past traumas while also grappling with the loss of his telepathic abilities (as a result of the vaccine that saved his life), Dara comes to realize that he is not powerless. Honestly, he is the exact opposite, and it filled me with so much hope to see his recovery unfold over the course of the book. It was an imperfect, realistic, and honest journey that ultimately warmed my heart a hundred (hell, a thousand) times over.
#JusticeForDara has been an ongoing trend throughout the Feverwake duology, and let me just reiterate: #JusticeForDara, indeed.
Dara’s heart couldn’t possibly keep beating this fast. It wasn’t sustainable—and yet he never wanted to stop feeling this way, like something was finally opening up in his chest…blooming, a flower he’d thought wilted long ago.
It also feels impossible to talk about the strength of the characters in The Electric Heir without mentioning Calix Lehrer…but I also don’t want to give him that sort of satisfaction. Just know that Lehrer remains the single “best” villain I have ever read in a book. Ever. Period. He is in a league of his own: despicable, manipulative, cruel, calculating, proud, and (worst of all) dangerously charismatic.
Lee also lets us catch up with our favourite secondary and supporting characters from Level IV: Ames, Taye, and Bethany, while introducing new characters that are guaranteed to work their way into your hearts (looking at you in particular, Leo).
The two of them built this hell together, and together they were damned to it.
I will say that The Electric Heir isn’t as action-focused as its predecessor, but with good reason. So much of what is really happening in this book is introspective, and has to do with the emotional, internal journeys that Noam and Dara undergo. That isn’t to say there isn’t action, because there is. It’s also not to say that The Electric Heir feels slow, because it doesn’t. My desperation to know what was going to happen had me staying up late into the night, frantically turning page after page (even taking into account the moments that required setting the book down so I could whisper-scream “No!” over and over and over again).
I still absolutely adore Lee’s worldbuilding, and the magic system she’s created. It’s expansive and detailed and intricate and complicated, but not so much that it becomes difficult to follow. Lee has masterfully woven into the plot several discussions and reflections on current issues, doing so in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural, overly preachy, or forced. It all flows seamlessly together into an arguably near-perfect story.
Noam could taste his own fear in his mouth, hot and ferrous. It coiled down his spine like a snake: venomous.
Fear was as much a weapon as anger.
When I first read The Fever King last year, it immediately skyrocketed to arguably my favourite book of all time (so far). It’s a book that gets better each time you read it. Admittedly, I was equal parts excited and terrified of The Electric Heir, in the way that I always am about sequels to the books I hold closest to my heart.
My fears, small as they may have been, were unfounded. The Electric Heir builds off its predecessor and tells a story that is incredible and, honestly, beyond words. It’s hard to read, but it’s even harder to put down. Victoria Lee has crafted a poignant, one-of-a-kind series, and cemented herself as an author whose books I will always, always read.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Amazon Publishing. This does not affect my review, which reflects my honest opinions. Quotations have been taken from an advanced reader’s edition and are subject to change upon publication.
THE QUOTES I NEED TO DRAW:
“Don’t leave,” Dara said against the heat of Noam’s skin. He squeezed his eyes shut—the way he used to shut his eyes when he wished on shooting stars, like not looking could make his dreams come true. “Stay here, with me.”
The door opened again. Noam felt the gust of cold air at the back of his neck and reached for his collar, tugging it up to cover his nape. Dara swept into the room like a black storm cloud—and with an expression to match.
“Probably my fault,” Noam muttered to no one in particular.
“It’s going to be okay,” Noam said from over his shoulder. His hand caught Dara’s, their bodies pressed together by the mob. Dara turned to look at him—and for a moment it was like nothing else existed. He tipped his face forward and rested his brow against Noam’s. He focused on Noam’s eyes, on the little threads of gold weaving through Noam’s irises like striations in marble.
“I’m scared,” Dara admitted, softly enough he couldn’t even hear himself say it.
But Noam must have, because he curved an arm around Dara’s waist and drew him in, burying his own face against Dara’s hair. “Me too.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.
Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
Again, don’t forget to follow along with the blog tour! There’s going to be lots of awesome posts from amazing members of the book community, and of course: your chance to win your own copy of this incredible book.
There is also a second copy up for grabs from the Instagram Tour that is occurring at the same time as the blog tour. Click on the image below to learn all the details, and don’t forget to check out my post for the tour here!
So, that’s two chances to win yourself a copy of The Electric Heir! Both giveaways will end on March 25, 2020 and are only open to residents of the United States.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club (Welcome Post)
Sometimes Leelynn Reads (Review + Playlist), Bookishaestha (Review + Favourite Quotes + Dream Cast), Enthralled Bookworm (Review + Favourite Quotes), Popthebutterfly Reads (Review), Books Over Everything (Review)