Title: The Shadow Mission
Series: The Athena Protocol #2
Author: Shamim Sarif
Genre: YA, Mystery
Published: October 6th, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Jessie Archer faced down death to prove her dedication to Athena, the elite organization of female spies she works for. Now she’s back on the team, in time to head to Pakistan to take down the man whose actions spurred Athena’s founders to create the secretive squad. But his connections spread farther than anyone knew, and when a girls’ school in Mumbai is bombed, a shadowy far-right organization reveals itself—and its evil plans to continue attacks.
When someone close to the investigation turns on Athena, Jessie knows that their time to save everyone is nearly up. Once again, she’ll have to risk everything to protect the vulnerable and prove herself.
Having proven herself, Jessie is back on the team, and she, Hala and Caitlin head to Pakistan on their next mission to find the man whose crimes resulted in the creation of Athena and extract information from him regarding a planned terror attack. Their information leads them to a girls’ school in Mumbai – one of Kit’s schools – but they are not in time to prevent it. Jessie must work with local detective Riya to uncover the organization behind the bombing before any further attacks occur.
I have to admit, I had my doubts about this book and nearly didn’t read it at all, but I’m glad I did! This was a huge improvement on the first book, and the plot moved so much faster – I maintain that this series would be great on screen. I adore spy stories and one like this where we get to see not only the action, but what goes on behind the scenes, pretty much describes my favourite kind of thriller.
The biggest difference in this book is that Jessie doesn’t work alone, but with her team and the support of Athena and all its resources, so we get to see some good team dynamics. The breakneck action easily draws the reader in, and as the many twists keep the story entertaining as Jessie and her friends try to figure out not only the culprits behind this deadly attack, but also who can really be trusted as everyone begins to appear suspicious.
Now this isn’t a bad thing exactly, but I found it strange that a group of super secretive spies were working so openly, and that too with a bunch of people outside their organization who are definitely not supposed to know who they are and what they do. After the great care they took in this matter in the first book, this sudden 180 was just odd.
On the downside, there was very little time spared for any sort of character development in this book. It’s mostly building off the information that was introduced in The Athena Protocol which was rather disappointing as I was hoping to get some insight on the characters we didn’t see as much of previously. Athena being a vigilante organization on this scale still sounds strange to me, but that is actually discussed in this book as an enterprising journalist seems to be intent on digging up the truth behind the organization. Personally, I found it to be a bit of a letdown how easily this hurdle was resolved.
I found the ending to be rather abrupt, considering how good the build-up was, and the main point of the story was essentially wrapped up in two lines with the action happening off page, but I’m looking forward to any future novels in this series. Overall, The Shadow Mission was a solid read, if a little shorter than I would have liked. If you’re in the mood for a fast-paced and entertaining read with some high-stakes thrills, this would definitely be a good choice.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: