THE GIRL WHO COMMANDED LIGHTNING by Clifford  Ratza

THE GIRL WHO COMMANDED LIGHTNING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this installment of Ratza’s (The Girl Who Electrified the World, 2018, etc.) sci-fi saga, a woman of superhuman strength and smarts combats cyberterrorism.

Electra Kittner believed she was immune to the Techno-Plague, which causes dementia in the 22nd century. But a new, lethal strain nearly kills her. She’s lived all of her 20-plus years with superior cognition and physical prowess, having garnered a “lightning brain” when her pregnant mother was struck by electricity. She slowly realizes, however, that her near-death experience has severely diminished her abilities. While her brain gradually repairs her, she gets help from pre-infected Electra’s notes—a “hard copy backup” that cataloged information such as her employment and personal histories. She also goes by her middle name, Alisha, until she can regain her faculties. But Alisha almost becomes another personality, one more empathetic than Electra. The two personas excel independently. While Electra constructs countermeasures for terrorists’ potential cyberattack, Alisha becomes a star quarterback for the T-Breds, the Co-NFL team in Austin, Texas, and, later, a Hollywood actor. But multiple threats loom, and soon a terrorist strike in cyberspace tests Electra’s defenses. Though this installment sees less action than the previous one, Electra remains a riveting, dynamic protagonist. Her duo personas are a collaborative effort: One assumes control when necessary. Nevertheless, we see more of Alisha, whose biggest obstacle is a football-related injury. Electra, meanwhile, primarily battles waiting antagonists, like the company, Cybergard, which is eyeing her software patents. Occasionally, Electra displays feats of strength: Even at reduced capacity, muggers don’t stand a chance. And the author persistently keeps the plot humming, from Alisha’s fast-tracked sports and acting careers to a few surprises. The book ends with another searing cliffhanger.

A decidedly introspective, engaging entry in this solid series.

Page count: 374pp
Publisher: Stonewall Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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