An e-book and hard copy of the cover of The Girl Who Commanded Lightning

The Girl Who Commanded Lightning

Genetics play a major role in the everyday lives of society. As John Maynard Smith once said, “Genetics is about how information is stored and transmitted between generations.” However this takes an even greater meaning in author Cliff Ratza’s book The Girl Who Commanded Lightning, the third book in a trilogy of books that explores the importance of genetics as a young woman changed by a twist of fate must navigate the complexity of her own genetics to stop threats both at home and abroad.

In this novel, the author picks the story up after the second book’s conclusion. Suffering from an attack by the crippling T-Virus, otherwise known as a Techno Plague, Electra awakens to a world where her unique abilities and her memories are lost, and she must find them again if she is to continue the work she had been doing. Meanwhile, threats from other nations and the vast universe of cyberspace threaten an already weakened United States after years of battling an outbreak of the virus, and Electra must find a way to stop it all while navigating her personal life and the complex mind and power hiding within herself.

This is a thrilling, addictive and action-packed read. The third book in an already thrilling series, the story does a great job of exploring a healthy mix of character development with world building. A book that delves deeply into science and action, the journey Electra goes on is engaging to the reader on every page. Exploring the world inside her own mind and seeing the various personas that control different aspects of Electra was interesting to see unfold as well, giving readers to fully engage with the character as a whole.

This is a novel for anyone who enjoys thrillers, suspense, action and adventure, sci-fi and epic sagas that blend all these genres into one. As a fan of all these genres, it was easy to jump into the story and get engaged with the tale of Electra and her journey. Seeing the protagonist not only explore her own power and uniqueness, but delve into the world of almost every profession imaginable to engage with those around her and expand her power greatly.

Exploring themes that revolve around power-drunk political leaders, cyberattacks, genetic evolution and the acceptance of those different from others, this book does an amazing job of amping up the action and exploring the evolution of not only Electra but the living lightning brain housed within her. Leaving enough room to further explore Electra’s journey in future installments, readers will love the lengthy novel as the story progresses and the action builds up exponentially. Those who love a healthy mix of semi-futuristic sci-fi action with action and adventure and a heavy dose of thriller will not want to miss The Girl Who Commanded Lightning by Cliff Ratza! – Hollywood Book Reviews



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.

“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