A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Victoria Lee's The Electric Heir is the sequel to The Fever King and continues the near-future science fiction and romance a few months after the end of the first book. Reading them in order is recommended to understanding the world and the characters more fully. All of the central romantic and sexual relationships are same-sex, and the main characters are positive representations for the LGBTQ community. Sexual and physical abuse are explored in detail, and the author provides a note and resources in the back for anyone who needs help, as well other potentially triggering topics like an eating disorder and substance abuse. Sex is never described, but there's kissing, caressing, undressing, and implied sex "afterward" a few times. It's also paired with violence a couple of times during erotic choking and physical abuse after aggressive kissing. Violence also includes killing and torture with magical abilities and real-world weapons, including a large-scale army battle. Blood and gore are mentioned and briefly described; pain is described in detail. Teens drink alcohol frequently; two characters are alcoholic but begin the process of recovery. A minor character is mentioned as always high. Several characters smoke cigarettes, and one scene romanticizes lighting another's cigarette. Strong language includes variations on "f--k," "s--t," and "ass."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE ELECTRIC HEIR picks up the story begun in The Fever King about six months later. Noam has to assume Dara is dead after so long alone in the wilds of Quarantine Zone, and has to live with the guilt of abandoning Dara there. That's going to be hard to do since Noam has basically taken Dara's place as Chancellor Lehrer's new favorite. But Noam knows now; he remembers the terrible things Lehrer has done to consolidate and hold on to power. Despite virtually living with Lehrer, Noam decides he'll do whatever it takes to bring Lehrer down. He starts meeting with a secret society, leaking the truth about Lehrer to the public while planning a way to bring Lehrer down once and for all. But with Lehrer always two steps ahead of Noam, how long will it be possible to keep even the smallest secret safe?
Is it any good?
This intense sequel with plenty of action will continue to engage fans of varied genres, including dystopian sci-fi, romance (especially same-sex romance), and fantasy. It's a big undertaking at almost 500 pages, but the action, romance, and suspense keep the pages turning. Reading The Fever King first is recommended to understand the characters better and appreciate the near-future, post-apocalyptic setting. There are a few slow spots, some things are a bit repetitive, and there's one abrupt jump to a completely different place that some may find jarring while others will enjoy being kept on their toes.
A strong theme of recovery runs throughout The Electric Heir, most especially from sexual and physical abuse but also from illness and substance abuse as well. Author Victoria Lee provides content notes in the back where she lists potentially triggering issues such as these explored in the story. She also provides resources for those seeking help. These mature themes, intense violence, strong language, as well as a couple of incidents pairing sex and violence, make it best for mature readers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Electric Heir. Is it realistic? Does that matter? Is reading about it different from seeing it in movies, games, videos, etc? Why, or why not?
What about the sexy stuff? How did you feel about the main romance being between two guys? How important is diverse representation in media?
How do Noam and Dara cope differently with their abuse? Do the ways they cope seem realistic? If you or someone you know has been abused or still is being abused, check the back of the book to find places where you can get help.
- Author: Victoria Lee
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Skyscape
- Publication date: March 17, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: September 16, 2020
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