Amped action and layered characters enhance this commendable second installment.

THE GIRL WHO ELECTRIFIED THE WORLD

Electra Kittner uses her superior intellect to help the president of 22nd-century America combat a virus and terrorists in the continuation of Ratza’s (The Girl with the Lightning Brain, 2018) sci-fi series.

Twenty-one-year-old Electra is the sole survivor of a helicopter crash. As part of a secret operation in the U.S., the helicopter had been transporting individuals with data on the Techno-Plague virus, which triggers rapid onset of dementia. Though the crash severely injures Electra and causes amnesia, she gradually regains her faculties—but she won’t let everyone know how much has come back. Years ago, lightning struck her pregnant mother, giving Electra her name and “lightning brain” (superior intelligence and strength as well as T-Plague immunity), and she’s long suppressed her skills for fear of others’ unfavorable response. When the Guardian Party overthrows the current administration, Jared Gardner is the new U.S. President. Electra, whose leaks on T-Plague projects at the National Institutes of Health (where she was employed) helped secure Jared’s current position, becomes his covert adviser and speechwriter. This affords her some control to find a T-Plague vaccine and thwart terrorists intent on deploying the virus as a weapon. Meanwhile, physical assaults from terrorists unleash her “Monster”—her often brutal retaliation. Ratza’s follow-up is an improvement over the series’ first now that the lead is evolving. For example, Electra struggles to feel empathy, which adds vulnerability to a character with seemingly indestructible brainpower and strength. She also learns more about her late parents courtesy of relatives she meets for the first time. Despite copious discussions on the T-Plague or terrorist activities, the story has a steady pace and frequently showcases Electra’s physical aptitude (“She sidestepped the thrust, using his arm for leverage and swinging him three hundred and sixty degrees, then throwing him down the stairs”). The ending offers resolution for at least one subplot and a fantastic cliffhanger that will leave readers yearning for the next book.

Amped action and layered characters enhance this commendable second installment.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2018

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 428

Publisher: Stonewall Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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