From the first sentence of Athena Force Vendetta by Meredith Fletcher, I was hooked on the inevitable romance between Winter Archer and David Gracelyn. Winter, an investigative journalist and classmate of David’s sister, has returned to Phoenix, Arizona, to investigate a series of kidnappings from Athena Academy that the principal, Christine Evans, believes is somehow tied to the death of David’s mother and founder of the school, Marion Gracelyn.
Winter begins her investigation at the Gracelyn mansion, and despite their rocky start and the high school crush Winter is trying to repress, the tension between David and Winter just begs you to scream, “Say what you feel, you idiot!”
The novel successfully jumps from the present to the past, specifically 1968, every couple of chapters as Winter’s investigation leads her to a murder case tried by David’s parents, Adam Gracelyn and then, Marion Hart. The 1968 plot develops with David’s parents’ brooding relationship as opposing lawyers for a violent murderess. Winter begins to believe the murderess may be involved in the mystery behind the kidnappings.
Though Athena is tagged as a romance, the action scenes outplay the sex scenes with descriptions such as: “The other leg folded and then snapped like a coiled spring. The prisoner’s bare foot caught Whitten in the throat with enough force to lift her from her feet.”
Fletcher's novel also borders on mystery because the entire series is an intricate mystery, but unfortunately, none of the mysteries in this novel — Amanda Weaver’s true identity, the culprit of the kidnappings and Marion Gracelyn’s death — are resolved at the end. However, this could be an ingenious strategy to encourage readers to invest in the rest of the series. I intend to.
And though it has little to do with the plot, my favorite tidbit from the novel is a “who” versus “whom” argument between David and Marion. As a journalism student, I recently learned how to distinguish between the two and the appropriate usage of each, so I appreciate the writer’s insight into the grammatical errors of many aspiring writers.
Ultimately, Athena Force Vendetta satisfied my tastes. It is a good romance with a little bit of mystery and legal action thrown in there — a romance-action-mystery-legal hybrid.Powered by Sidelines