Title: The Athena Protocol
Author: Shamim Sarif
Genre: YA, Adventure, Thriller
Published: October 8th, 2019 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Athena Protocol is a vigilante organization of female spies who go on missions around the world to enact justice and save girls and women. But when Jessie takes things into her own hands on a mission and kills a man holding a group of girls hostage, she is forced to leave the organization – right before a big mission to stop a human trafficker in Belgrade. Regardless, Jessie starts her own investigation into the situation as she is sure there is a link her teammates are missing. As she digs deeper into the trafficking, she must also dodge her former teammates even as the mission grows more dangerous by the day.
This book reminded me a little of The Black Angel Chronicles, only with older characters, and of course, an all-female spy organization. Jessie has a great character arc, initially quite overconfident in her abilities and training, but learning and maturing throughout the book as she understands what working as a team means even as she works to prove herself to the organization. Jessie’s character growth is very realistically portrayed and makes it easy as a reader to connect with her, something that is only helped by the first person narration. I also liked that the secondary characters get their share of page time, and that we get to know some of their backstories as well, particularly Hala and Caitlin. Within the span of a single novel, the author manages to beautifully depict the relationships within the team, showing how supportive they are of each other. While thrillers are not usually my go-to genre, it’s great to read a fast-paced novel like this from time to time. The story moved very quickly, jumping right into things with plenty of plot twists and nail biting moments, and it always kept me guessing as to what would happen next.
I think my only complaint with this book is that it does not feel like a YA novel at all. All the characters are in their mid or late twenties and the overall feel of the book is pretty heavy as well, with topics such as human trafficking being discussed. The other thing is that the Athena group is a vigilante organization, with basically zero oversight – fine for fiction, but hard to believe from a more realistic perspective.
The Athena Protocol is action packed thriller with some incredible characters, definitely a must read for fans of spy stories. This is a book, in my opinion, that would be great on screen, especially the action scenes. Highly recommended!
The Athena Protocol releases on October 8th, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!