Thinker Books: 1/18/19
eBook review copy; 276 pages
Athena's Choice by Adam Boostrom is a recommended dystopian mystery set in a world where all the men have died from a virus.
It is 2099 and all the men in the world, as well as some women, died fifty years ago from an experimental virus that was released in the world. Teenager Athena Vosh currently lives with her best friend/girlfriend, Nomi James. Her Citizen’s Benefit stipend gives her an income while she paints in hopes of getting her work into a gallery someday. She is shocked when Public Safety calls her in for questioning after she is named as someone involved with the theft of the "Lazarus Genome" from the mainframe at the Helix Company. This is the project to bring men back to the world. Athena is not involved, but she is invited to participate in the investigation run by Captain Valerie Bell of Public Safety after the Third Core requests this. Athena has been having vivid dreams that may hold the answer to the theft and to bringing men back to the world.
Although not classified as a Young Adult novel, Athena's Choice reads like one. I did like all the additions of essays from her childhood, news articles, ads, messages, etc., as they brought subtle clues into the narrative. The mystery is, however, basically uncomplicated and the writing is simple and straightforward. This and the simplistic world building make Athena's Choice read like a YA novel. If you appreciate a complicated and insightful dystopian this may not be your first choice. There are a few other interesting ideas of future advancements (with a focus on 3-D printing of everything) inserted into the plot, but most of the other areas are just causally mentioned, if that. I was left with some questions, like why are girls still sent off to schools and why was Dallas still around?
Athena is a teenager and seems like a young nineteen. The characters are all caricatures of a type - there really isn't a great deal of in-depth character development. The concept of the Third Core is fascinating, but has it roots going way back in other science fiction. It must be said that even though this is a novel with all female characters, this is definitely a novel written by a man. There was more than one time I had an eye-rolling moment, especially when Athena fantasizes about men. It is very difficult for a man or woman to accurately portray the opposite sex in any novel.
None of my qualms are particularly bad; Athena's Choice is an entertaining novel with an interesting premise. If it were classified as a YA dystopian I would highly recommend it for that audience.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.