Book Review: The Athena Effect by Derrolyn Anderson

eBook: 221 Pages

Series: ?

Publisher: Derrolyn Anderson

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Country girl Cali has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with the nature that surrounds her, and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books. When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about.

Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago.

Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity. 

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

The Athena Effect had its faults, but I would be lying if I said that, in the end, I didn’t like it. Because I did.

Cali, the MC,  lived her entire life isolated from the modern world and many other people, except for her parents, Jenny and David, and a couple of others.  Her parents, hiding because of a past dark secret,  raised her in a tiny cabin in the middle of the woods, where she learned to take on their fears of the outside world, grow up wild and untamed.

So, when she has to move to the city, to live with her aunt Angie, her world gets turned upside down. She’s a stranger to anything outside of her safe haven in the forest, people find her weird and, to make matters worse, Angie’s boyfriend, Phil, is a sleaze ball who keeps hitting on her anytime her aunt isn’t around. I hated his character with the burning passion of a thousand suns, which was the point, I guess.

Cali also has a secret, something her parents raised her never to tell. She can see (and taste!) auras as colorful clouds of feelings and emotions. Moreover, she can influence the auras of others, animals and humans alike. I really liked Anderson’s choice of lore, especially the ability to taste emotions, it’s an interesting and new addition to the idea of aura readers.

could have done with less “emotions/feelings described as colors” sentences, for every single character Cali meets, but it was a minor thing.

I love Cali! I think she’s a great character, determined and strong, smart and guarded – with good reason! Her confusion in the face of regular, normal things (like, say, running hot water) is absolutely endearing and goes to show how sheltered she really was, prior to moving to the city.

I don’t think naming the romantic interest Cal (Calvin) was a particularly great choice. Even with the use of variations of the names – Cal, Cali, Calvin, Caledonia – it got confusing, at times, reading about both of them. Nevertheless, Calvin is great! Here’s a romantic interest who doesn’t fit the mold of the “perfect, sexy, brooding hero”. You get to see him at his best, and his worst, too.  Sure, he is hot, sexy, drives a motorcycle and has a tattoo. He’s also funny, sweet and not perfect.

I mean, he was hooking up with half the school’s girls, before meeting Cali. I liked that. I also took a perverse pleasure in reading about his futile attempts (at first) of impressing Cali. Priceless!

Which brings me to the thing I like mostest about The Athena Effect, and that’s the relationship between Cali and Calvin. It developes normally! Imagine that. They start off by (sort-of) disliking each other, progress to being friends, liking one another and eventually falling in love. Also, they have sex. Yeah, I said it. It’s a YA novel, for teenagers, about teenagers, and they have sex. It’s realistic, hats off to Anderson for that.

And so we arrive at the, you guessed it, plot! The mystery surrounding her parents buried secrets, the Athena project and Cali’s abilities, were fun to read about. However, the storyline took me completely by surprise and not in a good way. It really kick starts around the middle of the book and, out of nowhere, new characters are introduced. Professor Reed, his goon Max and the two other gifted kids, Layla and Michael.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy the book until then, but the introduction of these characters/plotline wasn’t smooth enough. It also happened a bit too late, in terms of connecting to Layla or Michael, regardless of their situation.

Another thing I had problems with was the third person narration. Not one of my favorites, even though the narrator was omniscient. The POVs kept switching between different characters – Cal, Cali, Reed, Max – which made for a jerky, often times confusing, read.

The last quarter of the book really brought it up in ratings, though, (now I’m directing my hate towards Max) and I will probably read the sequel.

Oh, I noticed The Athena Effect tagged as being Urban Fantasy, on Goodreads, and I just have to say it really isn’t. It’s a YA romance novel with paranormal aspects.

*I received a review copy from the author. In no way did that influence my review. No money or favors were exchanged.

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