Reviews

Reviews of “Athena’s Promise”, released October 2011

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A Shift in Dimensions~Laura Eno

Two years ago or so, I read a flash fiction piece of Netta’s about a mermaid diva in a hotel lobby. It was a great story and the setting so surreal that it stuck with me. I swooned when she told me it was a character in a novel she was writing. Really. Swooned.

I devoured this book! Athena’s Promise takes place 20 years after an accident in Atlantis leaves a portal open for all manner of creatures to cross over into our world. The heroine is fun, sassy and kick-butt with an attitude that doesn’t quit. The author has a unique voice, full of wit and snap. Her characters and setting are distinctive. Even her cussing is humorous! And don’t you want to find out how Medusa fares as the hotel manager?

I’m so happy this is the first in a trilogy and can’t wait for the next one to come out. I gave it 5 stars but would have given it more if I could.

****

Patti Larsen

I love Pallas, the MC. LOVE her. Witty, strong despite the odds she’s up against and the horrible experiences of her past. Did she crumble under pressure? Never! Instead, this gutsy gal dives head first into danger for the sake of her friends and her home. Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. Awesome book–can’t wait for the sequel.

****

Lori Whitwam

The world created by Annetta Ribken is well-crafted, complex, and rich with memorable characters. The story is perfectly paced, at times “gigglesnort” hilarious, and at other times utterly terrifying. With the literary world overflowing with urban fantasy in recent years, it’s difficult to stand out or have any sort of original take on the genre, but this author scores big on both counts. The entire story is so well – and believably – told, the next time I check into a hotel, I almost expect to see a Gorgon, a pixie, or a mermaid roaming the halls.

****

Denise Battista

This is the first “full” story of Annetta’s that I’ve had the pleasure to read. I’ve read several of her short stories, intros and what not and from the start I “clicked” with her writing style, sense of humor and snarkiness. If I were talented enough to be a writer this is the type of story that I’d write.

Athena’s Promise held my interest from the cover page to the end page. Pallas, the central character, rocks!!! Not your typical vampire/zombie story (which I thrive on, by the way). This one incorporates lots of interesting ‘critters’, not your usual locale, suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat and a plot line which held up throughout the entire story. Don’t you just hate it when you see through it all and know the ending before it barely begins? Well none of that here…it will keep you guessing until the end! All of this wrapped up nicely with just enough ‘human’ emotion, sparks of romance, and a nice punch of “i am woman, hear me roar” strength.

I think i shall have to read this again and again and again until the next installment. Get those fingers moving, Annetta… I am craving more!!!

****

B. Decker

This is my first ever book review but I just had to say how much I enjoyed reading this story.

To be honest, when I read a few of the reviews of this book on other sites I was intrigued, but since I’ve never gotten caught up in the recent vampire/zombie craze I did not expect this book to be of the type I really like (Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Eragon Series). I could not have been more wrong. I skimmed a couple pages and by the end of page two I was backtracking to reread page one more slowly and completely hooked – right from the start!

This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. I am thrilled to know it is a planned trilogy as I adore the characters and want to see more of them along with finding out if the promise prevails.

Please hurry with the next part of the story!

****

S.D. Beallis

I’ve read Annetta Ribken’s work in her book of flash fiction, Not Nice and Other Understatements – A Journal of Flash Fiction, which showed me what I already knew from reading her blogs: Ms. Ribken can flat out write! But a novel length story is different to me; could she tell a story over the course of the longer form?

The answer is a resounding “Yes”, yes she can! This is a pretty original take on a locked-room mystery, but with critters. The denizens of fantasy fiction populate the character roster of this novel, ranging from vampires to pixies to centaurs and Greek gods (and goddesses), and of course, zombies. It’s reminiscent of the world that Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden lives in. And it’s as well drawn as that world. I actually felt I learned something about hotel management (and I probably did!), that’s how vivid this world is.

I couldn’t ask for a better first novel from a fresh author. I give it a solid recommendation to anyone who enjoys fantasy, urban fantasy, or doesn’t mind their mystery tinged with the supernatural!

****

John Melanson

Annetta has honed her craft into a stealthy and insidious ability to inject the very souls of her characters into your life. Once I began reading Athena’s Promise I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

Reading the adventures that take place, and Annetta’s ability to draw you in, make this a pleasurable “one sit read”. Her character development is seamless and believable, it takes place at the edge of Zombietown after all. This reader is very much looking forward to the next Volume.

****

Spike Marlowe

Athena’s Promise is a paranormal wonder of a book.

Pallas is the front desk manager at a hotel that serves a very special clientele — the majority of the guests are supernatural creatures. After one of the guests turns up stone cold dead, Pallas takes it upon herself to take care of the hotel and its workers. In the process of solving the murder and protecting the hotel she considers home, Pallas wrangles with the usual mythological creatures. However, Ribken has made the creatures her own in a fun and memorable way. Womanizing bling-laden centaurs, anyone?

Athena’s Promise hits all the right marks. The characters are fantastic — quirky, charming and real; the setting is believable; the romance is steamy in all the right ways; the plot is compelling and the pages turn as fast as my eyes can read. Especially wonderful is the narrative voice, and the book’s intrinsic humor and sense of fun.

My biggest complaint is that the sequel, Athena’s Chains, isn’t out yet. It’s probably best it’s not — I’d skip work and spend the day reading it.

Paranormal and supernatural fans rejoice! A new heroine is in town, and so far, she’s my fave.

****

Maggie Croft

Pallas is the front desk manager at an unusual hotel. The manager is a Gorgon, the owners are gnomes, housekeeping is made up of zombies and Pallas’ new nemesis is a lycan. It’s the perfect staff for a hotel that caters to guests who stepped right out of mythology and fantasy.

Athena’s Promise is a fun, laugh out loud, turn the pages as fast as you can book. However, it’s more than that. Pallas is a realistic, powerful heroine with a giant heart, guts of steel and a fantastic narrative voice. She, and her crew, inhabit a fascinating world where the thought that anything might happen is completely believable.

This is a weekend book; once you start you won’t be able to stop. Start this on a Monday night and you’ll miss work on Tuesday from staying up all night to finish Athena’s Promise. I can’t wait for Book #2. I’m seriously disappointed I can’t just read it now.

Look out, folks. Urban fantasy has a new kick ass heroine, and her name is Pallas

Maria Violante

I often find books that are hard for me to review. Most of the time, that’s the result of the author doing some things really right, and some things really wrong. And then I stare at it for a while and go… derp?

Athena’s Promise is not one of those books.

Instead, my issues with the book had a lot to do with my expectations. Ribken is pretty well known and respected in the Indie world as an editor. So, for some reason, I expected this book to be, well, life-changing. I actually had to read it once, give myself a break, and then go back and read it again, before I was able to actually enjoy it for what it was.

And by the way, before I begin, I would like to say something which some may find irritating. While the cover is beautiful, I don’t find it to be representative of the overall work. To me, that cover invokes an air of mystery, a speculative work of either high fantasy or science fiction. So I think that also affected the way I perceived the novel – because it’s not any of those. Instead, it’s a delightful, light, funny work with a little magic thrown in.

Athena’s promise feels like what would happen if Janet Evanovich started writing fantasy. The female characters are bright and sassy, the overall premise of both the world and the story are amusing, and the telling is original, fresh and funny (although I did find it a little stretched in one or two places.) Ribken’s editing background comes out pretty strongly – I found only a few minor errors in the work, and absolutely nothing that affected its comprehensibility – just minor things like missing punctuation marks and occasional shifts in tense.

Its overall style and tone are very evocative of “chick-lit”, but I think that the creativity of the author (as well as her knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology) really put it a cut above the genre. For example, her treatment of “zombies” is sensational – Ribken gives them a subculture all their own, and has thoroughly investigated their religion, appearance, interactions with other members of society, segregation in living arrangements – it’s pretty clear that she’s put a ton of thought into developing an intriguing world with a complicated and complex structure. All of the “critters”, from vampires to centaurs, get the same treatment. I think that’s why that, although I’m not a fan of romances overall (and I don’t know that I would classify this book as a strict romance, although the relationship between the main character and a supporting character takes a pretty pivotal role towards the end), I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a quick, light read – perfect beach material for the more magical of us.

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars. While not life-changing, it’s fun, sassy, and polished, and definitely worth the read.

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