Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom is about one girl’s choice to change man and womankind. In Athena’s Choice, we follow Athena as she discovers the truth about her utopia.
Many years ago, a fever killed all of the men in the world, and the women left created a utopia with no war, no famine, and no climate issues. In the political scene, women are debating on whether or not they should work towards bringing men back. The Lonely Hearts women miss them for romantic reasoning, and the opposers only recall their violence. It is up to Athena to discover which of these sides is the right one.
I found the premise of this book really interesting. The concept of an all-women world being a utopia is relatively unique, and, the idea that it was a terrorist fever generated to remove “the bad guys” and it simply evolved was neat. I liked the way we heard about Nomi and Athena’s childhood as a form of their papers and report cards- but I didn’t like the Wikipedia explanations of things. That felt like lazy writing as a way to not have to world build.
However, I had some glaring issues with this book that became more and more prevalent the closer to the end I got.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book and audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
First off, I genuinely think we would naturally evolve out of the desire of one gender or the other. I know that’s just my opinion, but, it feels relevant. Secondly, the constant need for men being primarily sexual and romantic felt shallow and one-sided. The characters reflected this inherent plot point by also being one dimensional. Athena just wants to solve the crime, Nomi just wants to love Athena, Captain Bell just wants to be The Best, and the scientists either want men or don’t want men but that’s the extent of their emotional capacity.
I’ve seen other opinions where people believe this should be classed as a YA novel. If you removed the sexual aspects of this book, I would have to agree. The world-building, characters, and concept was not fleshed out enough to be considered so in-depth as to be a Sci-fi adult fiction.
It also needs to be said that it feels relatively odd for a man to write about a world made up entirely of women and their desires. I suppose this is reflected in how one dimensional all these female characters are, and how their emotions (outside of the aggressive hatred of men, or the aggressive sexual need for them) take up two sentences before moving on. People died, and Athena would be sad for one or two paragraphs. But we got long scenes of her masturbating? Great.
I really struggled with this as a review because, in concept, it seems like exactly my kind of read- but in execution, it wasn’t what I wanted.