Book Review: The Athena Protocol

The Athena Protocol – Shamim Sarif – HarperTeen – Published 8 October 2019




Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.

Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.

Jessie needs to right her wrong and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.

My thoughts

The Athena Protocol is a fantastic YA action thriller with a whole cast of strong and diverse women who are unafraid to take risks to bring the bad guys down. High action scenes, surveillance with cool tech, hand-to-hand combat and sniper shootouts all with a positive message about working together, family, belonging and righting the wrongs of the world. I seriously loved this book and can’t wait to see where the next book in the series leads.

Jessie is part of the Athena Protocol, a secret group of three highly-trained female operatives led by a group of powerful women. Jessie may only be young, but she has been trained by the best of the best in surveillance, combat, research, weapons, coding, and hacking. Which is why she and her team are surprised when, on their most recent mission, Jessie breaks orders and shoots their target. Suspended from the team, Jessie knows they will need her help as they go after a human trafficker with extensive resources. So, Jessie does her own research and fieldwork, but going rouge means she is without the support of her teammates and when things get really dangerous, she will have to watch her back.

This book is about some serious girl power. Even the love interest is a woman (Jessie is LGBT). I loved the reasons given for these women to have come together to bring justice down on those who think they are outside the law. The glimpses of backstories are just are interesting as the real-time action and I hope we find out more about each operative as the series progresses.

Jessie makes for a brilliant protagonist. She is undoubtably talented and highly trained. She is good at what she can do (like shoot, defuse bombs and hack a security system), but she is also flawed (like all people are) in being a little bit too confident and not relying on her team enough. She has a few things to learn in the course of the book but it is also really easy for the reader to see her side of the story and be rooting for her to show everyone just how much they need her back on the team.

Diverse characters, serious girl power, non-stop action — The Athena Protocol will thrill readers and leave them begging for more.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Action/Thriller.

Themes: Spies, girls and women, human trafficking, crime, teams, friendship, mother-daughter relationships, romance, LGBT+

Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.

Advisory: Occasional coarse language, sh** (4), pi** (2). Violence – murder, assassinations, shooting, death, fighting, injuries. References to human trafficking, organ harvesting.

Published: 8 October 2019 by HarperTeen.

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 304 pages.

ISBN: 9780062849601

Find it on Goodreads


  1. confessionsofayareader

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, too. Great review!

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