Null Set (Cas Russell, #2) 
by S.L. Huang

I loved the first books so much, this one was a tiny bit of a letdown for me. Don’t get me wrong– there was tons of action, conspiracy, fight scenes, allusions to Cas’ mysterious past, and good fun. However, most of the central conflict of the book, while a super-cool use of current or near-future technologies, was a result of decisions made by Cas that didn’t ring true for me.

Not that I couldn’t see her grey morality allowing her to do it, but it was along the lines of what the bad guys, Pithica, did in the first book that horrified her, and she did it knowing full well that the one person in the world she trusted and relied upon, Rio, would stop her.

So…huh. That felt wrong. And then there was a bit too much of her returning memories encroaching on her real life as she experienced mental breakdown. What I wanted was to have a more solid sense of who was talking during those mental breakdowns, but we often got just the dialogue and no sense of who was saying it….so we are still completely in the dark about Cas/Rio’s past (don’t even get me started on the cliffhanger ending where some of that stuff is just about to be revealed).

Besides all the usual action/conspiracy stuff that i enjoyed, a new character is introduced into the book , a female administrative helper for Checker, who acts as a kind of barometer of the craziness as she is fairly normal and reacts in kind of normal, outraged ways whenever the worst of Cas’ life (Rio) interacts with her. I liked that.

No question I’ll go on to reading the third book!

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