I enjoy settings where smart women are kicking ass: Modesty Blaise and Buffy come to mind. I also enjoy real science and technology in a fictional setting, seemingly fantastical inventions that are viable in this day and age. Recall Dan Brown’s opening pages for The Lost Symbol…”All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real.”
Brad Thor’s recent novel The Athena Project had, on an opening page, “All of the science in this novel is based on reality.”
Here, I thought, we go!!!
The Athena Project is a US military project initiating the inclusion of teams of women in the realm of the military’s Delta Force; elite and secret operatives kicking the butts of the enemies of the United States. The four women of the team whose story Thor tells, are athletic, beautiful, and deadly. They follow the trail of Nazi-based technology being handled by a variety of bad guys representing nationalities where shady occurrences are commonplace.
I had trouble differentiating the four women; I think there was one getting over an affair, there was one always hoping for some action, and maybe one that was a little petulant. Or maybe they were all the same person – character development was weak.
The bad guys were a bit cartoonish in that they almost inevitably could be swayed to make a serious mistake when presented with a beautiful woman in revealing wear who eventually out-smarted them, and then beat them up. This happened a lot –and satisfied my penchant for smart women, kicking ass.
The mysterious Nazi technology gave some meat to the story. The evil scientists that the Allies scooped up by the truckload after the war, had created technology akin to the Star Trek transporter. People were finding failed experiments evidenced by skeletons half in and half out of solid rock, all over the place.
I found The Athena Project easy- going and entertaining, even with the overall weakness of the characters. Is it literary genius? No. It was fast and fun and I anticipate that Mr. Thor, if he writes more about the women of Athena, will become more adept at developing these characters in their battle against evil.
I did found myself worrying though, about the livelihoods of male Delta Force operatives; perhaps there are evil geniuses who are female where they can ply their manliness?
Joanne is an organization development and human resources professional with a business background living in Ohio. She has lived in Europe, Africa (including her Peace Corps service in South Africa), and arround the United States. She loves to plays volleyball, read, write, and has a cat named Ender.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.