Critical Point, by S.L. Huang

Review copy provided by the publisher.

This is the third in the Cas Russell series. Cas remains, as she has been throughout, a computational genius with no past, who shoots people a lot. Her hazy past keeps catching up with her in pieces, and holding it at bay is taking a lot of her time and energy.

What’s worse, her friends have histories of their own, less hazy and more immediate–and substantially undisclosed to Cas. So when a teenage girl turns up saying that her parent is in trouble–and Cas didn’t even know that friend was a parent–there’s an extra level of adventure to the psychic manipulation/blowing things up that is Cas’s daily life.

What’s worse, she’s finding it hard to keep track of all the ways in which she’s being manipulated by different parties. There’s someone she’s supposed to remember–someone overwhelmingly terrifying–but who was he? Who was responsible for all the explosions? Who is impersonating whom here, and why?

I’m trying to be careful about spoilers for this thriller, because watching it unfold is a large part of the fun, but there are even more players with even more games than in previous volumes. I think this one stands alone somewhat better than Null Set, but I’d still recommend starting the ride at the beginning, with Zero Sum Game, for maximum impact.

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