3 out of 4 stars
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In this story the violence is cataclysmic. The pendulum of human events swings to extremes. As the blood is routinely washed from the earth, the survivors struggle for new paradigms of organization and control. In this case it is female world domination (Foreword, Bill Combs, Athena Rising).
Athena Rising by Bill Combs is a fictional novel depicting a world of female domination. It is narrated from a third-person perspective, and it employs several locations and timelines.
After Saddam Hussein is captured, with Qaddafi and Mubarak killed, opportunistic jihadis (like Sunni Muslims) proliferate. Islamic terrorists perpetrate coordinated attacks on major cities of the world. In response, Operation Righteous Branch is initiated—a military operation involving America, NATO, and Israel bombing Islamic forces. A nuclear war ensues; world powers launch missiles at one another, resulting in the death of over one billion people within an hour. Inadvertently, Y chromosome development decreases drastically worldwide, making women outnumber men four to one on the average. A vocal movement (in favor of this statistic) surges, and governments of most countries are led by women by late 2025. The Athena Alliance is established based on the Birmingham Accords (a foundational framework for the birth of the movement).
Harper Jo Harman, a fighter pilot, is elected as president of America in 2028, and she plans to correct some of the mistakes while having to deal with the holdouts (locally and internationally). The Camerons, however, are deeply rooted in the rebellion. Some of them lead factions of the rebellion, but Will Cameron is confined to a facility as an elite breeder. His life takes an interesting turn when he is transferred to a Las Vegas facility to service high-ranking government officials.
The general theme of the book is the impact of unintended consequences. It is difficult to have imagined that the elimination of dictators of some Islamic nations could cause an escalation in Islamic terrorist attacks. On the other hand, pacifism carries its own weight of violence, death, and suffering. There is simply no one way to end terrorism, as alluded to by this quote from the book, “You can’t kill an idea . . . Only the people that carry it.”
The story’s premise is elucidated like a non-fiction social commentary; it is masterfully woven and delivered. The plot development in this book is commendable. Proper descriptions head transition scenes to help differentiate locations and time. (However, they should be in bold print to distinguish them from the rest of the text.) The combat scenes are majestic—the Stone Bridge incident, Operation Righteous Branch, and the Border incident are some of the best I have read in a while.
Nevertheless, there are numerous punctuation errors in the book. (Commas are frequently omitted after introductory phrases.) There are also typographical errors, such as “latte s” and “mam” rather than “ma’am.” In addition, there is an abundance of sexual connotations and adult language use.
I assign Athena Rising a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The book is not professionally edited; however, it is a remarkable and enjoyable read, and I recommend it to adult readers who appreciate fictional stories with political elements and social commentary.
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