Today I'm joining the blog tour for The Athena Protocol, out October 8th from HarperTeen! I'm here to share my review, and you can follow the tour here to find more interviews, reviews, and guest posts from other bloggers. Enjoy!
The Book and its Author
Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.
Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.
Jessie needs to right her wrong and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.
Born in the UK, Shamim is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and director.
Her next book, The Athena Protocol, is an all-female YA contemporary action thriller that is published by Harper Teen in September 2019. Her debut novel, The World Unseen, won a Betty Trask award and the Pendleton May First Novel award.
Shamim has adapted and directed the films of three of her novels including, most recently, Despite the Falling Snow. The book was published by Headline in the UK and St Martin’s Press in the US. The movie stars Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance in a story of love and betrayal in cold war Russia. Her films have won 47 awards internationally.
Shamim’s third novel, I Can’t Think Straight, formed the basis of her cult hit film of the same name. Shamim’s book festival appearances include Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham and Edinburgh. An accomplished speaker, Shamim has spoken at TED events worldwide, at the INK Conference in India and DLD in Munich. Corporate speaking events have included Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Disney.
Shamim lives in London with her wife, Hanan, and their two sons.
Thank you to HarperTeen and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Athena Protocol is a fun, fast-paced spy thriller that’s sure to excite readers. I read the book in a couple of sittings, which I consider a great advantage. The plot was well-developed, as were the characters and their relationships.
I was first swept up by the vigilante justice and feminist aspects of the novel. The Athena organization focuses on taking down human traffickers and other monsters who hurt women around the world, but through one of their founders, they also help these women obtain educations and healthcare. If only we had something like that in the real world. I liked The Athena Protocol partly because it’s wish fulfillment fantasy for me. I would 100% join them, because they’re taking an active stance to end suffering. That being said, the ethical dilemmas of their vigilante-style missions is also fully explored in the novel, which makes for a more interesting read. Living outside the law while still existing in the world takes a difficult toll on Jessie, our protagonist. She needs to learn to mute her actions, because they could endanger her whole organization.
I admit, I didn’t like Jessie at the beginning of the novel. Her self-professed arrogance and aggressive demeanor didn’t seem to suit the work she did. She also didn’t seem to respect her teammates very much, unless they were in a position of power over her. Cooperation wasn’t exactly her strong suit. She did, however, experience consequences for her actions, which I liked. I absolutely hate when characters get free passes just because they’re “special,” and while Jessie is a skilled operative for Athena I think she needed to be kicked out to learn her lessons.
Of course, this also kicks off the plot. Stung at being left out of the mission she helped research—taking down a human trafficker in Belgrade—Jessie tags along. I liked that the action was practically non-stop, and how quickly the story moved. The plot twists, which I won’t describe but which appealed to me, and the tension between Jessie trying to learn about the trafficker’s operation and her teammates doing the same while hunting her, drove the story to exciting places. Sarif can write a mean action scene, too! Some parts were genuinely frightening, and her descriptions really evoked the creepiness of the villains and setting.
One of the other main points of the novel is the relationships between all of the female characters. Jessie had great friends within her team, and I’m glad she learned to treat them with respect and honor those bonds. For me, the most intriguing elements were Jessie’s interactions with her mom, Kit. Kit is also a member of Athena, but she spent a lot of Jessie’s childhood on tour as a rock star, so it was interesting to read about her involvement as a parent in Jessie’s live, and the impact her absence had on Jessie growing up. I was surprised and happy about the romance, as well! The Athena Protocol delivers a well-written and electrical f/f romance between Jessie and the daughter of the trafficker, Paulina.
Overall, I recommend The Athena Protocol to any reader seeking a quick spy thriller and a fearsome female operative team. 4/5 stars.
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.