Review: “Critical Point,” S.L. Huang

Pros: Still loving this series!
Rating: 5 out of 5

I absolutely love S.L. Huang’s Cas Russell books. In Critical Point (Cas Russell Book 3), Cas is beginning to integrate with the people around her. It doesn’t come naturally, but she’s working with Arthur and Checker and even has an office. She has Simon helping to keep her fragile identity from crumbling. Unfortunately, she’s about to find out that her friends have been keeping a lot of information from her. They know how dangerous she is, how unstable, and how willing to let the ends justify the means–so they’ve been hiding a lot. And it stings when she finds out. Arthur’s daughter Tabitha comes to Cas to tell her she thinks Arthur’s missing. The fight to find and save him exposes more ties to Cas’s mysterious past and the people who made her into the living weapon she is.

Cas is one of my favorite protagonists. She’s a math genius who’s been shaped and molded into being able to use that mathematical ability in fascinating ways. She’s tough, and she often thinks the ends justify whatever means she’s using; she’s perfectly willing to do whatever it takes to save her friends, even if it means doing things they can never forgive her for. She’s irascible and easily annoyed, she acts on split-second instinct, and she heavily rides the line of unlikable protagonist. Even her old friend Rio–an extremely dangerous man who believes the killing and torturing he does is all necessary in the service of God–is not entirely on board with some of her actions. (Just as a note, I swear I hear Rio’s dialogue in Chris Judge’s voice.) She’s trying so hard to develop a moral compass of some kind using Arthur as a guide, and it’s really interesting to read about.

There are plenty of mathematical shenanigans to enjoy, and the lineup of additional characters in this novel includes a woman who is unbelievably beautiful and a man who’s so frightening no one can avoid panicking when they see him. There are a lot of messed-up people in here, and we get to explore the ways in which being powerful can tempt a person.

As long as you don’t need your protagonists to be unabashed good guys, I highly recommend this whole series!

“You can be petty after we find him.”
He was right, but that didn’t mean I had to concede it. “I’m capable of multitasking,” I snapped.

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