Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Books: "The Electric Heir" By Victoria Lee

The Electric Heir - Book 2 in the Feverwake Series
By Victoria Lee
Skyscape; 480 pages; hardcover, $16.99; available today, Tuesday, March 17

Victoria Lee's YA Feverwake series began last year with The Fever King, and readers of all ages and backgrounds were captivated by its diverse characters, striking blend of magic, technology, and science, and skewering of many timely social and political issues.

The central figure is Noam Alvaro, a remarkable and flawed main character who happens to be bi-racial (Latino and Jewish) and bi-sexual, and he stole both hearts and minds. 

The cliffhanger ending of The Fever King left audiences wanting more of the fresh and surprising dystopian storyline. Even as its tense action sequences entertained, the powerful and unwavering insights on issues of abuse and violence from the narrative voice resonated.

The sequel, The Electric Heir, picks up events six months after Noam helped helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia. The Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. 

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. 

Noam is determined to use his proximity and influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good, and he stages a dangerous game of cat and mouse, masquerading as the willing protege and succumbing to his every physical and emotional demand, while secretly plotting his takedown.

Author Victoria Lee has been very frank publicly about the childhood sexual abuse and violence she survived, and she explained the new book's origins, "The Electric Heir is, at its core, about what it means to be a survivor - both the experience of surviving, and the expectations that society places on survivors. So many victims are afraid to speak up, fearful that they will not be believed. Noam struggles to define what's happening to him as abuse, even as Dara begins the slow road to recovery from it. Noam and Dara experienced the abuse differently, reacting in very different ways - and each must face Lehrer on his own terms. If there is anything I want the reader to understand, it is this: there's no one way to be a survivor. To understand Noam and Dara'a story is to understand what it is like not being believed - of facing your abuser alone - of not being the kind of victim people expect. And all I want is for these characters to be heard."

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