ARC Review: The Electric Heir

Title: The Electric Heir
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: Feverwake #2
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, LGTBQ+, Bisexual rep, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Profanity, alcohol/drug abuse, mental health and suicide, non-consensual/rape, emotional abuse and manipulation, physical abuse. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself.
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads 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.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Skyscape!

img_9282Okay book nerds. Strap in because this book may just be my top/favorite read of 2020.

I read The Fever King a couple of days ago and I loved it! I got sucked into the story and the world and the characters in no time. I was just so excited for the sequel to come! And so, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that the sequel was available for request on NetGalley, and what’s even more surprising is that my request was approved! I dove right in.

The Electric Heir is one conclusion I will never forget. It’s powerful, it’s gripping, it’s intense, it’s heartbreaking, and above all, it’s beautifully done. I am truly in awe of this book.

Beautifully written

The Electric Heir is beautifully written. There’s no other way to go about it. Every sentence, every chapter, every archive part, every flashback—they were all there for a reason, they were all there to create a powerful story that will affect the readers. And boy, was I affected. My breath was knocked out of me; I was left feeling horrified; I cried; I felt all the anger, the frustration, the sadness, the angst, the fear, the hope; everything. I was so emotionally invested with the characters and the story because of the prose and how the author carefully built the story. I admire it so much.

I also loved the addition of Dara’s point of view. It was so great to know more of his perspective, his experiences, his thoughts, his feelings. He was an enigma in The Fever King, and here in The Electric Heir, we’re given the chance to peek into his mind. I loved it.

Complex characters

I loved how the author created such complex characters and explored each and every one of them. From Noam, to Dara, to Lehrer, and even the minor characters like Ames, Bethany, Taye, Leo, Priya and Claire. I applaud the author for such a great job with these characters.

Noam, my sweet boy, Noam. There’s a drastic change from the Noam in The Fever King to the Noam here in The Electric Heir. He’s braver, smarter, definitely more powerful, but there’s also a new kind of darkness inside of him—a mix of guilt, longing, trauma, secrets, wrong decisions, and more.

And Dara, my darling boy, Dara. There’s also a drastic change in Dara, all right. With him being no longer a Witching, we see him struggle and try to cope with being a normal person. We also see him try to deal with all that happened while he was gone, deal with the new Noam, and deal with the horrors Lehrer has imprinted on his mind.

And that brings me to Lehrer. Just when I thought I have an idea of what kind of person Lehrer is, I am proven wrong. Lehrer’s character is such a good villain, I have to admit that, even though I have a newfound hatred for him. Him being an antagonist is good because it’s so real, because his character exists in the real world—in the faces of abusers, of corrupt politicians, of tyrants, of manipulators. That’s what makes him so good, and so scary, and so frustrating.

Gripping storyline with significant themes

The author dedicated The Electric Heir to survivors. Because above all, this story is about surviving. Surviving abusers, surviving tyranny, surviving your own demons. I absolutely loved how the author focused on themes such as abuse, trauma, mental health, politics, relationships. There were already themes like these in The Fever King, but it’s in this book where these themes were such a distinct part of the plot. The author has woven them all together with such regard and, for me, it created such a powerful, gripping, and emotional story that will really stay with me as a reader and as a person. It was brilliant.


 

Overall, this book is just so, so good. Actually, it’s more than that, it’s magnificent, What a finale! I’m pretty sure this is my new obsession now, and I can say that Victoria Lee is now one of my favorite authors.

Sad to think about how this is the conclusion, but hey, good thing it’s been adapted into a Webtoon. Haha!

If I could give a million stars to this book, to Noam and to Dara, I would.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Series Review

Hi book nerds! Back with another review, but this time it’s for a series! And guess what, it’s a reread!

Earlier this year, I promised myself I would reread the Percy Jackson and the Olympians (which is my absolute favorite right next to Harry Potter). I first read the series when I was in high school (a little over 7 or 8 years ago, AACCKK). I’ve had my own set since last year and I finally completed collecting the graphic novel editions, so really, a reread is a must. And so, this November, I committed myself into this promise! And y’all, it’s a success! (See the thread of my live tweets for some serious fangirling moments and commentary here!)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Here are my thoughts on the books! (Warning: there will be spoilers!)

 

Book 1: The Lightning Thief

This book just never gets old! I first read this series back in high school and my love for it never diminished.

I loved getting to know the characters once again! Percy, Grover, and Annabeth. Seeing all of them get to know each other, go on a journey, and be a team is awesome! Made me feel a little bit nostalgic, too. I also love how the writing style makes it seem like I really am in the book, going on an adventure with this trio.

Loved the plot, of course. There’s a blend of magical stuff and pretty normal teenage issues, and that was great for me. There are prophecies and mythology, but there’s also family issues. I’m reminded that these characters are just kids, and they’ll be going through some typical human problems as well.

And of course, I couldn’t help but think of the movie adaptation. It’s just so different to the books, and well. Books are better, anyway.

Book 2: Sea of Monsters

I’m gonna be honest. I had so much more fun with this than The Lightning Thief! And I don’t know if this is because the story’s more captivating or I just don’t remember much of it after reading it for the first time several years ago.

Sea of Monsters was jam-packed! There are more stuff about Greek mythology (from the creatures, to the stories, to the heroes and villains, and the gods), the bigger plot and the prophecy is finally revealed to Percy, plus the characters are also a highlight (Tyson appearing and worming his way onto Percy’s life, Annabeth opening up more about herself, Clarisse trusting Percy and working with him). It was all so good and every element worked well together. I also loved that it’s humorous but also philosophical at the same time.

In this book, I also realized that Percy really did have the makings of a villain, or at the very least, a bad guy. He’s powerful (and still has more potential in the coming years), sassy, insecure, and can also be prideful at times. What makes him different though, is he’s still compassionate. He trusts people and sees kindness, and he takes the time to reflect and he admits his flaws, his doubts, and wrongdoings. I’m pretty sure we have Sally Jackson to thank for that.

Also, can I just say, that ending?! It’s truly brilliant and so well executed that I still had goosebumps even though I already knew exactly what was coming. It’s so good! Loved this!

(And yes, I’m still so mad that the movie adaptation changed and omitted so many details from the book. Ugh.)

Book 3: Titan’s Curse

Titan’s Curse is another amazing journey and it’s only getting us closer to the big prophecy, the gods and the titans, the looming final battle, everything.

We meet several new characters and it was so fun going on a journey with these new people here in this third book! Zoe Nightshade (bless her), Bianca di Angelo (oh, Bianca), Nico di Angelo (a.k.a. one of my favorite characters from the PJO universe), and of course Thalia! It was so exciting to finally see Thalia in action and get to know her, seeing as in the two previous books she was just this character in a backstory. But she’s here in Titan’s Curse and she definitely left a mark on me.

Also, Percy and Thalia’s dynamic was just so good. I remember thinking about something Annabeth had said in the Sea of Monsters

“Percy, you know who you remind me the most? Thalia. You guys are so much alike it’s scary. I mean, either you would’ve been best friends or you would’ve strangled each other.”

Thalia and Percy were both powerful, dangerous, loyal, insecure, and somehow, even just for a little bit, waiting for a chance to prove themselves to their fathers. I wish there were more scenes with them, actually. I would have loved to see them actually team up and just obliterate anyone who was on their way. They’d be the perfect duo!

Of course, what really amazes me the most is Riordan’s storytelling—the way he weaved the plot and tied it all up perfectly at the end. Even if I’ve already read Titan’s Curse, I still got shocked, I still held my breath, I still anticipated for the next things to come. This, for me, is just awesome.

There was also a part near the end where Athena tells Percy what his fatal flaw is, and wow. I just loved it so much! She nailed it! Percy’s fatal flaw can truly be a good thing or a bad thing, and I’m reminded just how much I love his character.

Such a great book! So excited for the next one!

Book 4: Battle of the Labyrinth

Second to the last book in the series! Battle of the Labyrinth was a fun and heartfelt read—with new characters, great plot twists, and a couple of moral lessons that will really stick with the reader.

There were new characters like Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Quintus, Briares, Calypso that really left an impression on me (I mean, they already did the first time I read the book,  but it felt more significant this time). Loved that we got to see more of Nico and we saw just how his character developed in this book. Now, I’m just so excited to see more of him in the next books and series. And of course, the tension between Annabeth and Percy! Our main characters are entering teenage years and here come the feelings. Percy was so daft, it’s endearing.

I also love how there were a couple of plot twists that I still missed. I mean, I read this book years ago, so I guess my memory is now kind of fuzzy. But wow, Uncle Rick really never fails to surprise me. I love it!

Also, when I first read this book, I never quite realized just how much of a theme the environment was in the story. Grover’s journey, Pan’s message, everything was so heartbreaking and enlightening as to how humans are treating and should be treating the wild, the earth.

“The wild, my dear Grover, is so small now, so shattered, that no god can save it.”

“Remake the wild, a little at a time, each in your own corner of the world. You cannot wait for anyone else, even a god, to do that for you.”

Another theme that was a highlight for me in this book is family. With Sally meeting Paul, Daedalus with his son and his nephew, the tales about Hera and her “family”, Nico and her sister Bianca, and even Rachel with her dad or Dionysus with his sons. All of these parts involved family—both the good, the bad, and the ugly—and I just really adore that.

I really loved this one. We’re close to the end and I can’t wait!

Book 5: The Last Olympian

THIS BOOK IS A MASTERPIECE. I have no words except for two: home and hope. For me, these two words perfectly embody The Last Olympian.

Here, we get to see the importance of home, of family—and not just the family by blood, but also family by choice. The ugly sides of family were shown as well, and the fact that just because someone is your family doesn’t mean they’re always right or always good.

There’s also hope, so much hope. For the future, for the much needed change, for the environment, for the camp, for the families. It also showed us just how w should keep the hope and to never give it up. I loved it so much.

When it comes to the characters, they have grown so much here, especially Percy. From his powers and abilities, to his attitude and thinking, Percy has grown into a hero. Another amazing character development for me is Clarisse. I loved her arc throughout the series, and seeing her character in this final book is just great!

The plot, of course, was just… I don’t even have the right word to describe it, but it was so well-written, so well thought of, and it’s just the perfect ending to a great series for me.

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Rereading this series was an amazing experience. Yes, I’ve read it before, but everything was just as great, just as chilling, and just as exciting. This is truly a wonderful series from such a great and talented author. Love you Uncle Rick!

And now, I must delve into the graphic novel editions of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Ciao!

Explore the Percy Jackson and the Olympians now! See the books, the graphic novels, guides, and more!

Book Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay

Title: Darius the Great is Not Okay

Author: Adib Khorram

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

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My heart is bursting with both sadness and joy because of this book. It was so well-written, so heartbreaking, and yet so heartwarming at the same time. So many people have recommended this to me, so many people have said a lot of good things about it, and they were absolutely right. I can say that Darius the Great is Not Okay is now one of my top 2019 reads.

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Book Review: Puddin’

Title: Puddin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Series: Dumplin’ #2

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

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This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now and it’s only this week that I decided to read it AAAAAHHHHH. I liked Dumplin’. It was okay for me, it definitely has a special place in my heart but it didn’t blow me away. Puddin’, however, blew my mind and captured my heart. This book is all sorts of amazing.

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Book Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

Title: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Series: Women are some kind of magic

Genre/s: Poetry

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

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At the end of last year, I made sort of a vow to myself that I would try to read more poetry books. I wanted to discover this new genre of books. And also because I found it personally weird that I used to be a literary writer and editor in college, but I have never read a poetry book like this! Hahaha!

This book was a rare find. I’ve had my eyes on this book for a while (the whole series/ poetry collection of Amanda Lovelace, to be honest), but our local bookstores do not have stocks of it. But then, I did find one! A single copy. I was so, so thankful! It was unfortunate that I only found the second book in the series, but I was still so happy.

Last week, I finally read it, and fellow book nerds, I am amazed! This book is fierce, provoking, and oh so lovely in every way.

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