The Athena Effect by Derrolyn Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Published: August 30th, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Publisher: Indie (Self-Published)
Source: Review Copy
Purchase At: Amazon.com or Smashwords.com
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?
I was positive there wouldn’t be any more Indie author reviews coming from me this year, mainly because of life being hectic, and also because the waters between bloggers and self-published authors had long since grown troubled. After witnessing many others bear the brunt of insult or heckling because of conflicting views and opinion, I was in no hurry to put myself in any such position. So I closed up shop, blocking out self-published authors along with their books. In this case, I’d have to really like the book, from an indie author, to review it on request.
And wouldn’t you know it? I really liked this book.
The author, Derrolyn, is a very sweet lady. Heck, I just called her a lady, which should tell you something! She was very humble when requesting this review, explaining that she knew how strained things had become, and also that she would still like me to consider The Athena Effect for review. When I told her that the review might come a little late, she was cool, and very accommodating to my circumstance. How could I say no?
The premise of Derrolyn’s novel first struck me as being intriguing, a girl with strange abilities and a love interest with a similar name? It was all very interesting and I went to work on it almost as soon as it was downloaded to Tookie, my kindle. This is almost an embarrassment to admit, if it wasn’t so incredible, but the book grabbed me, and I lost against the sheer force of The Athena Effect’s awesomeness. There is solid plot, ingenuity, humour, romance and a peculiar brand of uniqueness about Derrolyn’s writing that I am sure will see to it that she, along with this series, goes very far.
The prologue kicks things off with a strange man and woman, both gravely malnourished, and running from something. It is revealed that the woman, Jenny, is pregnant, and both she and the man, David, are in desperate need of help, and a ride. They end up receiving assistance from a kind, sympathetic trucker who agrees to take them north…
*Blinks* What, Grey’s Anatomy is a book?!?
*Sarcastic face* See?
Despite her lack of exposure to the outside world, she is still a brilliant young woman, capable of survival and superior intellect; I had to respect that. Cali is an intelligent and deeply thoughtful heroine. Her parents have always prohibited contact with the outside world and generally go to town only for the most necessary of errands. When most girls are grieving over which prom dress to pick, Cali can sit back and read. How cool is that? Very, if you ask me, but of course things take a major 360 turn when her parents are found dead, victims of a motorcycle accident.
Cali is left alone, and used to turning to her parents for direction, she now stands aimless. There is no foul play suspected in the occurrence of their deaths, her parents have long been victim to terrible seizures, horrible hallucinations, and Cali believes that they ran into a semi-truck while undergoing one of these seizures. Almost as soon as their funeral is through, she is on a bus, bound for the city and her Aunt Angie’s house. Cali is still a minor and will have to live with her new guardian until she is of age to make her own decisions
This is the first time we get a view of Cali’s visibly strangest quality, her eyes. She later describes the condition as heterochromia, meaning she has two different eye colors, one blue and the other green. Couple that with her heightened awareness of people’s feelings, an ability that allows her to read their “colors” and ultimately emotions, and you know this girl is different. Although almost oblivious to her differences, she embarks on her adventure to the city a little hesitant, but ultimately just curious. She will have to have her wits about her to confront the dangers awaiting: the man her parents spent the better half of their lives running from, and her aunt’s major creep of a boyfriend, Phil, who means a lot more harm than good. There are challenges at every corner for Cali; the girl can’t ever seem to catch a break. My heart ached for her.
Imagine not knowing how to interact in modern society, or never having to deal with the numerous constraints that govern daily life before, how would you cope with being suddenly thrust into such a world, expected to adjust quickly and following a tragedy such as your parent’s deaths? I couldn’t do it. It was a weird perspective, reading of someone who knew so much and yet was unaware of what is commonly taken for granted as basic etiquette.
Before I began reading, this was by far the portion of the book I feared the most; I didn’t know how well it would be executed, hesitant at the thought of having to endure some bimbo, doe-eyed character. To think that such an individual with apparently latent TSTL symptoms might have been let loose upon the fictional world to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over every pothole and sewer drain made me cringe, but to my delight, Derrolyn knew exactly what she was doing! Cali embodied newness, an endearing naivety. The idea of her, the character, struck me as being completely authentic. Also, the coupling of Cal and Cali, two protagonists with very similar names, was another aspect of this novel I loved, loved, loved! These concepts were like toss-ups, gambles in a world of contrived cookie-cutter cut-outs and they paid off. It was different…an innovative, brilliant combination and I adored it.
For fear of accidentally ruining anything, I will keep the following details pertaining to Cal and Cali’s romance to a minimum. Let me say though, that they were both very good together. Cal is set up as the bad boy biker and player extraordinaire. Cali kind of takes him by surprise because she isn’t fazed by his show of machoness. Quite frankly, she can see right through him, and under the leather and flair, he’s just a boy with surprisingly earnest feelings and a good heart. They would do anything for each other, and watching their affection grow was by far my favorite part of the journey.
This quote from the book takes place as Cali sits at the bus station, waiting for Angie to arrive and pick her, it is a beautiful peek into their relationship:
“She watched the one named Cal as he sauntered back to his bike. It was a bigger, more powerful looking motorcycle than her father’s; she’d never seen one that looked like it before. She tried not to stare, but she’d never seen anyone who looked like him before either.
He was tall, taller than her father, clad in dirty blue jeans and a black leather jacket that fit snug across his broad shoulders. His hair was dark, like his eyes, which were fringed with black lashes that made them stand out even from a distance. She’d never seen a really good-looking man before, and she watched him, fascinated.
He walked with a confident swagger that belied the anxious chartreuse color he was radiating. Like everyone else at the bus station, he was troubled. He reached into his pocket for a pair of mirrored sunglasses, slipping them on to hide his arresting eyes. She watched him straddle the bike gracefully, without putting on a helmet. He revved the engine and sped away, going much too fast.
Beautiful idiot, she thought.”
And there’s even more to come, the book expands really well on its initial themes, and while some were mature, dealing with suicide, obsession, depression, etc. the book is a stand-out of epic proportions. It didn’t feel self-published, and ultimately, I am glad to have given The Athena Effect a chance; this novel certainly deserves to be read by everyone with a strong interest in science-fiction and romance. Personally, I would categorize The Athena Effect as being more of Mature YA/New Adult in genre simply because there are sexual situations and it feels a lot more grown up than most YA fiction, but in a good way! There is an ease to which things play out and plenty of heart-warming scenes to keep readers gripped. There were instances I felt my periphery melt away; it was like watching a really sweet movie. Basically this book has a little bit of everything, humour, action, romance, and a sci-fi twist that most readers will love, everyone should read this.
4 genies: A good read. I enjoyed this book, not quite loved, but it
isn't far off from being amazing.
What do you make of this review, any plans to read The Athena Effect? I really did enjoy this book and would love to know your thoughts on it, if you've read the book or are making plans to do so! I'm also thinking of doing a "Fiction into Fashion" set inspired by Cali's style soon, any suggestions?
As always, take care!
Love you lots, XX,