Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan

The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan picks up right where The Son of Neptune leaves off, just as Jason, Piper, and Leo arrive at Camp Jupiter led by Annabeth to pick up Percy. Their mission is to convince the Roman demigods that in order to defeat the vengeful Earth Mother, Gaea they must complete the Prophecy of Seven by choosing two Roman demigods who will accompany them in their perilous journey to find the Doors of Death in Greece. But first they must stop in Rome where Nico has been taken prisoner by two giants and where Annabeth has her own quest to follow.

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
Grade: B

Visit Rick Riordan here.

Series:
The Lost Hero, #1
The Son of Neptune, #2
The Mark of Athena, #3

7 comments:

  1. Oh Anna raced through this one in about 12 hours the day after it was released. She could not wait for this book--even I had the release date memorized for months. Then when we bought it, she was SO into it. Then when I asked her how it was she said, "ok." LOL!

    I asked her what grade she would give it and I think she said 3 out of 5 stars. I wish I could get her to write a book review for my blog.. but she can't be bothered. One of the things she didn't like was the sadness factor. She does not like sad stories and there must be something sad in there towards the end?

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    1. Christine, sigh... poor Anna! This book had a darker atmosphere, a lot of introspection and it wasn't as much fun as the other books, plus yes, it ends with Percy and Annabeth going into a dangerous situation. There's no light, fun break in between all the battles and action. So I can see why she was sad.

      It's really a solid read, though. Riordan is wonderful with the way he uses all the adversity to forge bonds between the kids, and shows how even when there are different beliefs, people can work together and become a team. And he turns self-doubts and lack of confidence into a positive. It is perfect for young adults. That ending though... it's a bit of a cliff hanger and that's always a downer. :)

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  2. I agree with you on the grade, Hils :) I definitively liked that Mr. Riordan switched to 3rd POV for this sequel series. It would have been impossible to write only from one POV alone. I also prefer 3rd POV than switching 1st POV, because I think it means he has less unique voice to come up with.

    One thing I've learned throughout the series is that prophecies are flexible. You might think you have it all figure out, but who knows. Perhaps someone else will join Nico's gang making it 7 and Percy and Annabeth have something else to do. You never know :) And they did set out the 7 of them...

    LOL, the Pepsi vs Coke was a really good one :)

    Now, I need to go write my review... Hopefully, soon!

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    1. Nath, I absolutely agree with you about the 3rd POV in this case. It would have been a mess if he had used the 1st, it was so busy already! And yes on the prophecies... there is always a way around them, a line that can be interpreted a different way... who knows? Nico might go work on his own again, or as you say they might pick up another demigod on their way.

      Oh! Pepsi! I was thinking of the way that Riordan exchanged wine for Pepsi since Bacchus is supposed to be all about the vine, grapes and wine. It was perfect for the young adults. *g*

      Now, I can't wait to read your review!

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  3. Soo good! Can't wait until next year. I defiantly did not expect the ending. Can't wait to see the Romans' and Greeks' reaction to it.

    Zaira Lynn (Seattle IT Consulting)

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    1. Zaira, I'm waiting impatiently for the next installment too!

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  4. Such an amazing book. id recommend this book to anyone who love greek and roman mythology but u have to read the lost hero and the son of Neptune first.

    Marlene Detierro (H1 Accessories)

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