The Girl Who Commanded Lightning
by Cliff Ratza
Lightning Brain Press

"In everything she did, Electra always hoped for the best but planned for the worst."

Electra Kittner, as billed by the first novel in Ratza's series, is an exceptional being with extraordinary abilities. Like Harry Potter, she has an interaction with a lightning bolt, and in this case, the strike supercharges her neural network and DNA. Unlike Harry Potter, Electra’s story evolves in a realistic rather than a paranormal universe. Book 3 begins in a future plagued by terrorism and a virus. Electra is fighting for her life as she lies in a coma, mortally ill with the T-Plague virus. The lightning brain pulls through with much experimentation and assistance from her friends and colleagues. By necessity, the life-or-death battle against the T-Plague virus must continue as Electra works on her physical rehabilitation, as does a cyberwar directed by a Middle East/China/Russia triumvirate battled by an intolerant, twenty-second-century U.S. government.

This sci-fi/urban fantasy is a cerebral affair packed with rapid-fire action from beginning to end. The pace of the novel rarely slows except to allow the camera lens to zoom in for close-ups of the main (multicultural) characters, who are conveniently listed in the front matter to help readers, along with a preface containing a brief synopsis and the primary plot threads. A glossary and appendix in the back matter are also helpful in better understanding this science-based, metamodern tale that, according to author Ratza, is based on “current trends projected into the future.” He explains in a promotional video on YouTube that the novel explores “why the challenges in this country can be handled” and that “it develops a very plausible scenario for the future as well as a philosophy for dealing with it.” Readers who are interested in science, philosophy, political intrigue, and the intrigue of cyberspace will enjoy this fanciful but plausible series that has three more volumes in the pipeline.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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