Title: Athena’s Choice
Author: Adam Boostrom
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Audience: (Young) Adult
Narrator: Alex Ford
Length: ~7.5 hours (276 pages)
Publisher: independently published
Release Date: December 13, 2018
Source: ALC from Netgalley; paperback from the Athena’s Choice Promotions Team
Recommended for Fans of: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman books
What if a viral pandemic put women in charge of the planet?
“One of the Best Books of 2019”
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Athena Vosh lives just like any other teenager from the year 2099. She watches reality shows with her friends, eats well, and occasionally wonders to herself: what would life be like if men were still alive?
It has been almost 50 years since an experimental virus accidentally killed all the men on earth. However, a controversial project is currently underway to bring men back. There’s just one catch. The project has been sabotaged.
So begins Athena’s Choice. When the police of 2099 are tasked with finding the saboteur, they receive a mysterious command to investigate the otherwise innocuous Athena Vosh. After it becomes clear that the young girl might know more than she lets on, Athena is brought in to participate in the official investigation. Simultaneously, the girl begins to experience a series of cryptic dreams featuring a ruined library and an old book containing the saboteur’s true identity. As the police close in on their prize, Athena finds herself on a journey of her own. Her clue-filled dreams and incorruptible spirit bring her face-to-face with a pair of forgotten truths about happiness and gender. The world waits to see if men will return as Athena fights a separate battle, culminating in the choice that will define her and others’ lives forever.
This book has such an interesting premise. In a world without men, women have achieved peace and prosperity. Should scientists work to revive the male gender? Or is the world better off without them?
I loved the futuristic setting in this book. It felt very realistic and probable. While this is a dystopian book because of the society without men, I found myself comparing it more to science fiction books like Defy the Stars, The Illuminae Files, and The Aurora Cycle because of the technology. I really liked how the artifacts at the end of chapters (like news articles and Wikipedia entries) fleshed out the world building and provided context for key details in the book.
For some reason I thought this would be a book about Athena on the run from police trying to solve the mystery of the stolen male genome on her own, but she is actually brought into the investigation as a consultant and has a great partnership with Captain Valerie Bell (I clearly only skimmed the synopsis). I found the Core’s role and motivations in the book to be a bit confusing and contradictory. While the story was not what I expected, I really enjoyed it overall.
The entire book, but especially the ending, proposes some seriously thought-provoking questions about happiness, gender, and humanity. I am struggling to recommend an audience for this book. While the main character is 19-years-old and young adult readers could relate to Athena’s coming-of-age story, I think the philosophical questions this book raises will appeal to more mature readers.
Thank you to the Athena’s Choice Promotions Team for the gifted copy and Netgalley for the audiobook. All opinions my own.