Genre: Sci-fi Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: standalone
Precocious young scientist Lucy Phelps’ fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.
One side wants her help and the other wants her dead, but both believe she is the next step in human evolution. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation—including Nikola Tesla—have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE TESLA LEGACY is a fun sci-fi full of twists and turns as Lucy’s life is turned upside down by the discovery of electrical powers.
It’s a very fun, fast book. The chapters are miniscule by and large – I think the average was five of six pages. This means there are lots of hooks and tension beats to keep the pacing up so you keep reading. It was so nice to just read again. I’ve been really intermittent this last week, so it was a joy to be pulled into the story.
This book is a love letter to science and pop culture of the (?)80s. I’m not very good with pop culture dating, but we’ve got Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, various bands I vaguely knew were bands. So somewhere back then! So yeah, the pop culture rather flew over my head, but it builds up the picture of a nerdy girl who has been kept pretty isolated for years. In that respect, it’s really well done. Plus, well, Science student me is going to love all the science (even if I was several pages ahead of the explanations).
One thing I kept coming back to and grimacing over was the core relationship – Lucy and Ravi. He is a British UK university student, aged 21, who is holding a teaching assistant position in Lucy’s school as cover to help her. Putting aside the logistics of how he got the position so fast after the inciting incident (visas, flights, and a job basically overnight?!), I was deeply uncomfortable when the romance started up between them. It was inevitable from their first meeting (screamed “cute meet”). He might be 21 and she 18, but he is still holding a position of responsibility at her school. This is just wrong – abusing a position of responsibility.
The frustrating thing is that there are so many ways to work around it. For example, he could be a student (who it later turns out has already got his degree because he skipped ahead) who is visiting for one term because his guardian is working in New York. Given Lucy appears to go to a private school, with enough money, he could easily get a last minute place. No need to make his a teaching assistant. I came up with this idea in five minutes, so something workable for the book could easily have been found.
This book was clearly written as what was supposed to be the start of a series – probably pitched as standalone with sequel potential – as the ending is so open and a lot of questions remain unanswered. Like who can actually be trusted?
However, the book clearly did not garner the reception needed to prompt the publisher to buy the sequels – it has a 10th of the number of ratings that SWEET BLACK WAVES got, an indication of how few people have read it. Plus the book never went into paperback, which is not a good indication in the US model.
It’s a pity, as it could have been a really nice sci-fi series, and there is such a dearth of YA sci-fi out there. This one is stuffed full of science too.
Read my reviews of other books by Kristina/K. K. Pérez:
Sweet Black Waves:
- SWEET BLACK WAVES (#1)
- WILD SAVAGE STARS (#2)
- BRIGHT RAVEN SKIES (#3)