The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity

Lightning Brain Series (Book 5)

Romance - Contemporary
335 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity is a work of fiction in the action, thriller, family drama, and romance subgenres. It forms the fifth novel in the Lightning Brain Series and was penned by author Cliff Ratza. Intended for mature young adult and adult readers, this newest exploration of the life of Electra Kittner brings a conclusion to the first major plot arc in Ratza’s epic speculative world. With a child in tow and the singularity known as Indira left to manage, Electra isn’t ideally equipped to take on international terrorism but she perseveres anyway against all odds. When she and the now-president Angus McTear are missing in action, a new hero must step up to the plate to find them.

Author Cliff Ratza delivers a fantastic segue novel that simultaneously ties up many of the loose ends from the existing series. It also begins to pave the way for new adventures and potential new dangers that may rear their ugly heads in Ratza’s bleak visions of a future filled with tech and terror. I enjoyed the fact that there’s always a layering of different genres happening, from romance to sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, and action adventure, and this novel encompasses the many different emotional dramas that Electra goes through. The introduction of Su is brilliantly played to immediately endear her to us and the cinematic action of the final scenes creates images that will stay in your head long after you’ve finished reading. Overall, The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity is a memorable novel and I would not hesitate to recommend the entire series to anyone who wants a multi-layered adventure.

Pikasho Deka

After surviving a devastating terror attack in Lebanon, Electra returns home to America alongside a six-year-old orphan named Qama. While juggling her interests in Hollywood and working on transhuman technology, Electra also helps the CIA and the government deal with threats at home and abroad. She develops a close relationship with Qama and becomes ever more aware of the capabilities of the Singularity called Indira, named after Electra's mother. But when an unknown hacker starts leaking confidential information about Electra, she must find a way to close down the threat. Meanwhile, President Gardner is shockingly assassinated, leaving the reins of the country to Angus McTear. However, another terror attack puts both Electra's and McTear's lives in grave danger. Find out their fates in Cliff Ratza's fifth book of the Lightning Brain Series, The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity.

What happens when extraordinary people are forced to deal with the limitations and flaws of humanity? This is the primary underlying theme running throughout Cliff Ratza's futuristic sci-fi series. In The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity, Ratza displays a similar narrative approach to the previous installments, with multiple plot threads revolving around Electra, who inadvertently embroils herself in every momentous event of her time, being woven together. Electra is an overachieving and all-encompassing heroine. She is an actress-turned-screenwriter, a scientist, and someone fully capable of holding her own against powerful enemies who seek to hurt America. I have enjoyed all the books in the series so far and recommend them to those who love sci-fi.

Alex Ndirangu

The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity is the fifth installment in Cliff Ratza's Lightning Brain series. It continues the cliffhanger in book 4, where Electra is saved by Indira, a cognition that emerges when her Linguistic Analyzer reaches the Singularity. After the attack, Electra returns to the US to continue with her professional and family life. She moves to DC with her newly adopted six-year-old daughter named Qama. Tending to the child might just be what Electra needs to help soften her emotional persona. But the enemy is back and preparing for their return to dominance on the world stage. Electra's genetic engineering and transhumanism research is also being hacked and leaked. While she might have Indira to help trace the hacker, more enemies are still on the loose, unleashing violent physical attacks. Hiding will prove too hard, and fighting might turn out fatal this time.

The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity is a page-turner from beginning to end. In just a few minutes, Ratza takes us from the tragedy in the Middle East to the Monaco Grand Prix, where we see Electra take on a Formula One race. What follows is an epic ride into a winding tale of adventure and intrigue. Throughout the Lightning Brain series, I've grown to love Electra's personality and how she sees the world from a unique perspective. She's a brilliant young woman who knows when to unleash her superior intelligence and extraordinary capabilities. Cliff Ratza does a fantastic job of growing and developing Electra throughout the series, but I also appreciated the glimpses that he gives of the supporting characters. It was well worth reading about the transformations of Electra's friends and family, despite the adversities that sometimes threaten to take over. The characters' emotions worked their way into my heart. It was easy to cheer for time-tested friendships and the sense of joy and peace that reinvigorated the story whenever Electra had time to connect with family.

The plot is easy to follow, and the transition of events is perfectly done. Moreover, the book explores past mysteries and conflicts that connect with current ones, making it more appealing. Another aspect I enjoyed is Ratza's easy-to-understand explanations of the occasional challenging concepts. Whether it was quantum physics, molecular biology, or other complex technical subjects, he always figures out simple descriptions with just the right detail to educate and inform. Readers seeking an adventure into the future and lovers of thrillers should check out this excellent installment.

Asher Syed

The Girl Who Sparked the Singularity: Lightning Brain Series Book Five by Cliff Ratza diverts the focus away from alternate people and personalities and recenters itself on the main character Electra, the girl with the lightning brain. The streamlining of a renewed focus is that readers are able to concentrate on the immediate issues that Electra must resolve while she balances her growing family responsibilities. Mixed in are the plot points and progression of the story, such as Electra's resolution of the cliffhanger and taking on a new survivor, an AI, and a friend with children. She has her research manipulated and doxxed, she and her family still face threats, her political pushes and work in Hollywood are still in play, and the world is in a perpetual state of imminent peril.

I was pleased to get back to Electra without much interference in The Girl Who Sparked Singularity. It's important sometimes to scale back and, personally, I felt like this needed to be done. This is not done at the expense of Cliff Ratza's steamrolling progression of Electra's arc from book to book, but there was some slowing down as we caught up with the more technical elements of a futuristic tech society and all that entails. For example, the story contains huge swaths of information, even by comparison to the previous four books, on mathematics, technology, and physics that are presented in both dialogue and memorandum style formats; Qama, Robin, and the AI named after Electra's late mother, Indira, the latter being instrumental in safeguarding Electra's files. Ratza is at peak writing form in this book and the series continues to swing from one success to the next.

Jamie Michele

Cliff Ratza pulls out all the stops in the fifth book of his Lightning Brain Series, The Girl Who Sparked Singularity. This novel is preceded by The Girl with the Lightning Brain, The Girl Who Electrified the World, The Girl who Commanded Lightning, and The Girl Who Cloned Lightning. Readers return to the future and Electra and are almost immediately introduced to its newest featured player, the little girl Qama. Electra takes Qama home and she is enfolded in the relative safety of Electra's love. I use the term 'relative' because trouble hounds Electra as if this is its job and, like the world we live in today, the lines between politics and Hollywood get blurry. Attacks that include public disclosure of Electra's private material can theoretically come from either side, muddying the ability to make it stop. The 'singularity' in the title is Electra's AI technology that goes sentient, and Electra names it Indira after her mother.

I have read all the books up to this point in the Lightning Brain Series by Cliff Ratza and all of them have been wonderful. The Girl Who Sparked Singularity felt very different in conclusion because with the previous novels, which end on a cliffhanger, this is the first time there wasn't another book to pick up and crack on with. It's unsettling and I remember now why I hate cliffhangers. Ratza writes an engaging narrative that allows for an immersive experience. The previous books in the series would have multiple spinning plates. Ratza sets most of the plates down in book five and Electra is allowed to stretch her arms and her mind through all of it. There is no more than the tiniest of variants to pull a reader into another head that is not Electra's but they are still 100% Electra-centric. I felt like she was there the whole time and even though I remembered why I hate cliffhanger endings, I also remembered why I love Electra so much. Very highly recommended.