The Keepers of the Lightning Brain

Lightning Brain Series

Romance - Contemporary
294 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Keepers of the Lightning Brain is a work of fiction in the action, adventure, and thriller subgenres by Cliff Ratza. Aimed at mature teen and adult audiences, it bridges the gap of the Lightning Brain Series as the sixth book but also begins a new saga with the Keepers. We find ourselves in the same world as the adventures of Electra but twenty years on from the events of the Middle Eastern US Embassy attack which saw her vanish mysteriously, seemingly never to return. Su-Lin Song Chou has kept her memory alive all this while but now she is the last Keeper and must find a way to move the legacy forward. The children she has raised as a guardian may be her only hope.

Author Cliff Ratza has gained mileage in this new generation of storytelling after the events of the original Lightning Brain series. The action-adventure parts of the novel are supremely well-described and cinematically atmospheric. The story moves into a more futuristic world but one that still has plenty of echoes of the contemporary speculative ideas that the earlier books sparked. This is a believable future for our new heroes to engage with, and the theme of twins and duality is once again wonderfully explored from a new angle. I was pleased to see that Indira was as enigmatic as ever. Overall, I would recommend continuing your adventure with The Keepers of the Lightning Brain as the series gets a big refresh to rocket it into a whole new concept.

Pikasho Deka

The Keepers of the Lightning Brain is the latest installment of Cliff Ratza's young adult Lightning Brain Series. The twentieth Keepers Reunion anniversary in honor of Electra Kittner by her friends turns into a disaster when a freak accident causes the death of the entire group, excluding ninety-seven-year-old Su-Lin Song Chou. Despite her worsening health condition, Su-Lin finds herself tasked with overseeing the development of the next generation of Keepers, which includes two sets of sibling twins; Eve and Alonzo Cortez and Nari and Nila Bose. On the instructions of the self-aware AI robot Indira, Eve, Alonzo, Nari, and Nila travel to Cairo, Egypt, to attend university and hone their unique talents. Unbeknownst to them, the teenagers also have another mission; to meet a person everyone assumed dead a long time ago. However, an unforeseen pandemic complicates everything.

An action-packed sci-fi odyssey for young adults, The Keepers of the Lighting Brain is a unique take on the genre built upon a promising premise. Author Cliff Ratza incorporates elements from theology, sci-fi, anthropology, and theoretical science to tell an engaging tale about two sets of twin siblings who have to shoulder the responsibility of being the next generation of an elite group of highly gifted people. The plot is evenly paced, with a narrative that is entertaining as well as educational. Eve, Alonzo, Nari, and Nila have very distinct personalities and traits that make them stand out. I recommend the series to readers who love sci-fi action-adventure stories with young adult protagonists.

Jamie Michele

Cliff Ratza inserts the next generation of Electra-lytes into The Keepers of the Lightning Brain, the sixth novel in The Lightning Brain series, preceded by The Girl With the Lightning Brain, The Girl Who Electrified the World, The Girl Who Commanded Lightning, The Girl Who Cloned Lightning, and The Girl Who Sparked Singularity. The protagonist throughout the entire series has been Electra Kittner whose mother was struck by lightning while pregnant and, as a result, Electra was born with exceptional intelligence and physical strength. No longer a girl and now a woman, Electra has been gone for twenty-two years but her memory has been kept pulsating through a Keepers Group until all are killed except for one, Su-Lin Song Chou. Electra's language app AI creation Indira helps the one survivor recruit four teenage orphans and dispatches them to Egypt. Electra has her fair share of enemies and all four teenagers are in for a shock when Indira piecemeals information while keeping her cards close and what is in store even closer.

“I believe Electra is officially dead, but her memory and maybe more live on.” For a novel that is about half the size of most books in The Lightning Brain series, The Keepers of the Lightning Brain by Cliff Ratza packs an equal-sized punch in this edition. At first glance, I didn't even realize that this was in the same series, but as book five ended with a cliffhanger, I was grateful to find I had not run out of books. Ratza is a seriously prolific writer who threads tension through every scene and keeps his fanbase propelling forward with plots and subplots and subplot-plots. The cornucopia of characters comes and goes but the Cortez and Bose twins are the primary point-of-view features, flicking back to others with restraint. Indira turns out to be a bigger player than I anticipated and is able to work in some huge miracles on more than one occasion. A sense of familiarity returns and the four kids turn out to be just as interesting as I hoped. Another excellent addition to an already excellent series. Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

The Keepers of the Lightning Brain by Cliff Ratza is book six in the science fiction The Lightning Brain series but acts as a branch to what comes across as a spin-off to the previous five novels. Book five, The Girl Who Sparked Singularity, gave the series a cognizant AI app named Indira that its main character Electra Kittner created. Electra has been gone for two decades and the 'Keepers' Group' was established out of a sincere desire not to allow Electra's legacy, and Electra herself, to be forgotten. There is always hope, but it is slapped down again when tragedy strikes. Indira returns to assist an elderly Keeper named Su-Lin Song Chou rebuild, retrain, and redeploy new Keepers. The new group has two sets of twins and when they are sent to Cairo, Egypt, Electra's past and her adversaries home in.

Cliff Ratza sure does know teenagers and the angst they bring to the storyline is good enough by itself in The Keepers of the Lightning Brain. The previous Lightning Brain novels introduced new and youthful characters but Ratza takes teenaging to the next level with Eve and Alonzo Cortez, and Nari and Nila Bose. As a parent to a teenager, it's believable to me that while on a high-stakes mission in North Africa, one of the teens is intent on getting back in time for camp, and another views the time as a 'useful career experience.' Ratza develops the teens into authentic characters and once that is accomplished we are extremely delighted by an unexpected twist that changes their leadership. Indira is pragmatic and good, but not the best. And the best is yet to come.