The Girl with the Lightning Brain

Lightning Brain Series (Book 1)

Young Adult - Action
620 Pages
Reviewed on 02/23/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite

Natural disasters, terrorism, and even deadly viruses continue to threaten humanity in the twenty-first century. Amid these trying times, you will meet an extraordinary girl named Electra. A lightning bolt struck her house during her birth, killing her mother. However, this tragic incident endows Electra with exceptional abilities and powers that she will discover as she grows older. Electra grows up when America is under attack from a rapidly spreading, lethal virus known as the Techno-Plague and terrorism. In an effort to stop the virus from spreading across the world and inflicting widespread panic, Electra's father is working nonstop to develop a vaccine. This gives Electra every reason to pursue a career that will allow her to tackle these problems directly. She does not want anyone to discover her superpowers for fear of the government learning about her existence. However, the government is engaged in a research project that may be directly related to her! How does this project relate to Electra? Will external forces force her to use her abilities? I urge you to pick up a copy of Cliff Ratza's The Girl with the Lightning Brain to learn more.

Cliff Ratza's writing is outstanding. Writing a novel about fictitious but natural scientific phenomena takes great skill. It's impressive how much detail, sincerity, and objectivity the author used. He appears to have done sufficient research on the subject while blending it expertly with the human aspects of the issue. The events were chronological, the flow was good, and with no plot complications. Ratza expertly blended culture, politics, social relations, and a fulfilled prophecy into a riveting adventure. The author's ability to vividly describe events enhanced the plot's development. The scenes captured my mind and emotions. What I liked best about The Girl with the Lightning Brain was the author's ability to create a utopian world in which political and social aspects of people's lives coexist in a realistic manner. I could ultimately adapt to each character's lifestyle habits and mentally take part in their interactions. Undoubtedly deserving of praise are his imagination, creativity, and world-building abilities. I believe the author did an excellent job with this book, and I eagerly await more of his work.

Jamie Michele

The Girl with the Lightning Brain by Cliff Ratza is a supernatural speculative work set in the distant future and is the first book in the Lightning Brain series. The novel reads along the lines of a superhero origin story, where the protagonist is a young female named Kit/Electra who we follow from childhood through to her teen years. Transitions in between punctuate events at various points throughout the timeline. An event during Electra's birth is the catalyst for both tragedy and hope. A life is lost, but billions may eventually be saved. Still, like Electra's own birth, the 22nd-century America she is born into is in danger. In addition to terrorism, which hasn't been stamped out a century-plus into the future, there is also a plague that is an existential threat to the whole of humanity. Electra, who is brilliant to a degree we have not yet experienced, is the key to a vaccine - a cure. But who can be trusted? Will it even work and how can a teenager shoulder this burden by herself?

The Girl with the Lightning Brain is an ambitious undertaking that juggles as many themes and twists as an author can pack into a lengthy novel. It's clear from the trajectory of the story that Cliff Ratza knows where he is taking readers and it's quite a fun ride to be on. I found Ratza's transitions between characters to be easy to follow and effective in avoiding the usual reader fatigue that sets in with big tomes. From a literary standpoint, the writing is tidy. I love that Electra is a seriously radiant young woman with her physical power, but more so because she is a young woman who is a STEM genius. There's never any love lost between my inner nerd and a femme-teen brainiac. I did feel that much of the time Electra was of questionable authenticity about how she thought and spoke. It sometimes sounded like how my grandmother thinks “kids that age” talk but is forty years past being an authority. There are many directions that Electra's path can lead and for fans of speculative fiction with its ankles deep in superhero science, The Lightning Brain series is sure to please.

K.C. Finn

The Girl with the Lightning Brain is a work of fiction in the supernatural and dystopian subgenres and is the first novel of the Lightning Brain Series. The work is best suited to young adult readers and was penned by Cliff Ratza. In this epic work of speculative fiction, techno-thrills, and interpersonal drama, we find ourselves in the near future in a world ravaged by a dangerous plague. Instead of being biological, the new pandemic comes in a technological form that plunges the planet into the dark ages. Only our protagonist Electra can save the human race from destruction with her truly unique gifts.

Cliff Ratza puts a lot of passion and enthusiasm into his storytelling, and it’s clear from the start that he’s given a lot of thought and development to the central concept of this thrilling novel. For older Middle-Grade readers and the lower end of the YA spectrum, this work will appeal to them and be accessible in terms of its snappy, simplistic dialogue and exciting character concepts. I would hope to see greater emotional development and maturity in the characters as the series continues, but the basis of Electra’s origin story and the struggle that she has with her gifts and responsibilities is well-considered and enjoyably portrayed. I also really enjoyed the scene setting and atmospheric description throughout, which made it feel like I was watching a movie play out in my head. I would certainly recommend The Girl With The Lightning Brain to fans of dystopian action stories everywhere.

Vincent Dublado

The Girl with the Lightning Brain by Cliff Ratza is the first book in the Lightning Brain Series. Electra Kittner may well be described as a metahuman if she lives in the pages of comic books. She is aware of her special ability, which is the result of a near-fatal experience at birth. It has become a gift and a curse that is a closely-guarded secret. She lives in a deteriorating world: Power failures have become a common occurrence. A Techno-Plague is sweeping the world in pandemic proportions so that even the United States can’t cope with it. The populace is becoming paranoid and distrustful. The government is taking autocracy to a whole new level. Terrorist groups are using these problems to leverage their agendas. Electra’s extraordinary brain that makes her autodidactic may well be the key to salvation. But a young woman can only do so much.

The Girl with the Lightning Brain is escapist fare. The thought that one individual can change or save the world fuels the theme of the storyline—and it delivers quite well. It has the typical fantastical scenario of a young protagonist discovering who she is and then being thrown into a messy world that needs fixing, and someone gifted is the solution. Times are changing, but the idea that surviving adolescence by taking on an unexpected responsibility still has room, especially when you consider how the pandemic altered the course of our lives. Cliff Ratza is aware of this. He makes sure that it doesn’t grow stale as he embeds the storyline with timely political and social issues. You get a broadcast of today’s headlines in the guise of fiction. The environment that paved the way for The Hunger Games and Divergent is still open to giving this book a chance. Recommended for readers who are into dystopian themes in YA fiction.