|The Mark of Athena|
by Rick Riordan
Unfortunately just as the two group of demigods are exchanging prophesies all hell breaks loose and our friends barely get away with their lives. On the bright side Hazel and Frank help and go along for the ride, completing the Greek/Roman team. But is Annabeth really one of the Seven? Another prophecy says that "the daughter of Athena shall walk alone." Time is of the essence, but with all the obstacles they encounter along the way --attacks by Gaea's minions, mini-quests presented by spoiled gods, battles with demi-gods and monsters -- our friends don't even know if they'll get to Rome on time to save Nico never mind to the Doors of Death.
In the The Mark of Athena, Riordan again uses the third point of view and divides the chapters by featuring the different characters' perspectives -- that's seven points of view in total! Each character stars in their own mini-adventure along with one or two of the others, so it gets pretty busy along the way. As in the previous two books of this series, action is relentless making this a quick and enjoyable read.
The purpose of these mini-adventures and the journey is to forge a bond between the Roman and Greek demigods. They must learn how to work together or all is lost. Along the way, each character's weakness is revealed as well as self-doubts. Riordan uses these weaknesses to showcase the characters' strengths, then uses those strengths in a group situation to build a cohesive team. Character growth is also evident as each character works through lack of confidence and learns to trust him/herself as well as the others throughout the journey.
As opposed to those light, fun moments with the quick give and take and the amusing dialog we have all enjoyed in the previous books, particularly from Percy and Leo, self-introspection and yes, some darkness prevails in this installment. As a result this journey, although action packed and enjoyable, lacks that fun atmosphere found in The Son of Neptune. All the characters seem to keep information and details to themselves and it takes a while for them to share and trust each other with facts and visions. Annabeth in particular keeps a lot to herself by necessity, yet her point of view is really a winner. The final resolution to her lonely, frightening quest is a brilliant one.
There are moments and characters that I love in this book: I love how Riordan portrays the division of the gods (Roman/Greek), and how that division affects them. Dionysus/Bacchus is absolutely wonderful in this installment. Pepsi? Really? That is precious! And, the two giants keeping Nico prisoner had me in stitches! Those are some of the light moments that really made this book worth it for me. Percy still has the touch when it comes to witty dialog and clever lines and Leo is second best, although in my opinion his sense of humor was a bit off this time.
The Mark of Athena is a solid addition to this series, and now that Jason, Percy, Piper, Hazel, Leo, and Frank have bonded, there should be less of that transitional feel to the next book and hopefully the adventures will flow with a bit more cohesiveness. I do have questions! Will someone finally love Leo? How will Percy use his powers if there's no water in Hades? Will Jason ever develop a sense of humor, or is his resemblance to Jupiter too strong to do so? Will Piper finally learn to appreciate her powers? Who does Hazel really like? Will Frank ever get his pants back? Is Nico one of the Seven and will we get his point of view in the next book? If Annabeth is part of the prophecy, then does that make it Eight?
This book ended at a crucial moment, and needless to say I can't wait for the next book. Do we really have to wait until next year?
Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Heroes of Olympus
Publisher/Release Date: Hyperion Book CH/October 2, 2012
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The Lost Hero, #1
The Son of Neptune, #2
The Mark of Athena, #3