Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom

four dragons and a baby dragon or four and a half dragons
four and a half dragons

3.5 to 4 for writing and plot, 5 for the thinking it makes the reader do.

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If you want an easy read with the potential for deep thought pick up Athena’s Choice.

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I came across Athena’s Choice on NetGalley and liked the cover. I read the description and thought “holy crap, a world without men?! That sounds like a crazy, entertaining story.” And then I saw that it was published on my birthday. Naturally I had to read it.

I’m intensely happily married so the idea of a world without men makes me shudder. My hubby gone? No, no NO! I also have a ton of brothers and a great dad not to mention male friends so again NO.

I think this was an interesting read because it begs the question “are men evil?” Which is obviously a stupid question. Humans are evil, but men specifically? That’s like asking “are women stupid?” Yeah some of them, but not every single one. However, the book discusses the rampant nature of violent crime perpetrated at the hands of men. Think about the things we hear about in the news: gun violence, terrorism, rape, domestic abuse, etc. Yes, women commit these crimes as well, but the overwhelming majority are committed by men.

Obviously the argument to exterminate anything flawed isn’t one I agree with and that’s why this book is important. The current state of affairs needs to be discussed. Toxic masculinity exists, toxic femininity and toxic feminists exist. We need to take a hard look at the statistics and try to learn why and how to fix it.

A very brief search with Bing and Wikipedia led to the following results.

2011 arrest data from the FBI:[51]

  • Males constituted 98.9% of those arrested for forcible rape[51]
  • Males constituted 87.9% of those arrested for robbery[51]
  • Males constituted 85.0% of those arrested for burglary[51]
  • Males constituted 83.0% of those arrested for arson.[51]
  • Males constituted 81.7% of those arrested for vandalism.[51]
  • Males constituted 81.5% of those arrested for motor-vehicle theft.[51]
  • Males constituted 79.7% of those arrested for offenses against family and children.[51]
  • Males constituted 77.8% of those arrested for aggravated assault[51]
  • Men accounted for 80.4 percent of persons arrested for violent crime.

Notice the words “of those arrested for,” this is an important inclusion that shouldn’t be overlooked. It is hugely important to realize that women often don’t get arrested for horrible things they’ve done whereas men almost always are arrested for the same offense. For example, spousal abuse. A women must seriously damage her significant other before most officers will arrest her for abuse. Whereas a man need only hit a woman in the presence of an officer for the result to be arrest. However, both instances should have the same result of arrest.

From 2003 to 2012, there was a decrease in the rate of crime overall, but an increase in crimes committed by women.

I don’t know why there is an increase in crimes committed by women, but it may have the same solution as stopping crimes committed by men.

Back to the book. Happiness profiling seems like it could be a terrible idea. The idea is that you input information and are told what would make you happiest out of your options. However, I imagine this being used to close oneself off from the world and never broaden horizons. For example my happiness profile would almost always tell me I wanted to stay inside with a good book and my husband, possibly with snacks and a low-maintenance puppy. Obviously I wouldn’t be very successful in life nor would I have any growth. Though this happiness profile would probably take that into account I still fear that it would be an enabler for all the weak things we do under the guise of self-care. In the book it does mention that it takes joy and FULFILMENT into account.

Now onto the writing itself. The descriptions are quite good and bring the book to a higher level than the characterization alone would have allowed. I can absolutely imagine this futuristic world and all of its luxuries.

Captain Bell’s character was super annoying and often came across a bit overdone and clichéd. She seemed like a caricature and also like a teenager with the constant eye-rolling. Also when it comes to Athena and Nomi I was never sure who the perspective was coming from because it would switch constantly with no explanation. I would be sure it was Athena’s perspective but then I would be told what Nomi was doing in another room. This was only an issue when the two were together which wasn’t all that often.

Now, this has nothing to do with the story itself, but I’m really glad to see a male YA author. It seems like much of YA and fiction writing today is done by women. And while that in itself isn’t a bad thing, exclusion and lack of variety is.

**spoiler alert**

One thing that maybe didn’t make sense was that the bad guys… bad women who caused the y-fever were still worried about being caught even though a pardon had already been delivered regarding anyone involved willfully or otherwise. Obviously genocide would most likely cause an uproar and potential death through vigilante justice even after a pardon, but they shouldn’t be held responsible by the law. Also, they could probably hide out. I don’t know.

Boostrom also flipped the orientation of the “coming out” idea with Athena being a “lonely heart” aka a heterosexual. She hid it from others and even herself, and the descriptions of her feelings and self-discovery were insightful.

I think Athena absolutely chose to bring men back. I also think Nomi’s death was partially done to make the decision easier for Athena because it feels less like a betrayal if Nomi is gone.

**end of spoiler**

What choice do you think Athena made? Tell me your opinion in the comments.  

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