Title: The Athena Project
Author: Brad Thor
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
The Athena Project is the code name for an entirely new Delta Force team, one that hasn’t before been heard of in American counterintelligence. The four members of the Athena Project are smart, savvy, and capable. They are the best at what they do, and strike fear into the hearts of anyone who is working against them. One thing sets the members of The Athena Project apart, though – all four are women. Beautiful and able to inflict deadly force, Julie, Megan, Alex, and Gretchen make up one of the top Delta Force teams out there today. When a deadly piece of Nazi research turns up in the Amazon jungle, the team must discover who is using this piece of technology and stop them before it is too late.
In his latest thriller, The Athena Project, Brad Thor appears to be trying to appeal to both sexes – an exciting story containing beautiful women with guns for men, and smart women who are better at their jobs than most men for the ladies. While he succeeds on the male front, women will be left wanting by this book. Julie, Megan, Alex, and Gretchen are all beautiful, which men will love. However, they will be hard pressed to even remember their names. These women receive virtually no character development over the course of the story. The most that they are defined is through their romantic interests and the relationships they are in. Each woman is given nothing in order to define her, to distinguish her from the others. They are painted as an individual, a team of beautiful, capable women – nothing more, and with few realistic feminine qualities to back them up.
As a result, the main draw of The Athena Project has to come from its story, and it does mostly succeed. The Nazi project is an interesting one, and readers will want to discover why exactly it is being used, and what it means for our heroines. However, the story is choppy. It jumps so quickly from mission to mission that there isn’t a lot of time for the reader to digest what is going on. On the plus side, though, it moves very quickly and doesn’t give the reader the opportunity to become bored with the story.
The Athena Project is a wonderful change of pace for men looking for something new in an action thriller (and perhaps something to fire up their imaginations), but women will be left wanting by this book. The characters have little depth and don’t resemble real, three dimensional women. The premise is very interesting, but the story has some execution issues. Overall, this book isn’t one wholeheartedly recommended to discerning readers, but if you are looking for quick, escapist fare, you might enjoy this book.