Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Title:        The Mark of Athena [Heroes of Olympus, book 3]
Author:     Rick Riordan
Rating:     ★★★★★
JacketsmallOf course I gave this one five stars. Could it be any less? No, not really.
I waited an exact whole year for this sequel to The Son of Neptune and it has been worth the wait. It has 580 pages and each one just oozed with pure goodness. I liked Rick Riordan with the Percy Jackson series but he was just even better with the Heroes of Olympus series.

Anyway, the plot goes like this:

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.
Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .
In this book, we finally see the seven heroes coming together for their quest. Annabeth and Percy are finally reunited but the Greek and Roman camps are not exactly on good terms. We also get to know more about the other five heroes, who, by the end of the book, I got to know a little bit better.

I was actually looking forward to Athena’s Roman children, but apparently there aren’t any. This is beautifully and satisfactorily explained in the book and even gives rise to the whole plot. Riordan sure knows how to write a cohesive story, with all ends met and satisfied, if not by the end of the book, at least by the end of the series!

Aside from Annabeth, Jason, and Percy, the other heroes are Hazel, Piper, Leo, and Frank. I got to know Leo more in the story and aside from Annabeth and Percy, he has become one of my minor favorite characters as well. The others, not so much! Hazel, Piper, and Frank are nice, but Leo’s powers/talents are really cool. I’m thinking that he will become a major character in the next books because of his ‘new’ discoveries as their quest plays out.

Other minor characters made a surprise appearance here. In fact, one god surprised me in particular, because, well he wasn’t all that helpful in the previous books. I’ll leave the identity of this one for you to discover as you read the book.

The book ends with, well, a hellish discovery on the part of the seven heroes. I actually liked the ending. It makes me anticipate the next book even more. I didn’t languish because I’m expecting them to emerge victorious in the next book. Siiiiigh. I just want to get my hands on the next book!

Aside from Annabeth, the other four heroes were highlighted more than Jason and Percy. I think that by bringing the others into focus, the importance of their working together and the importance of the skills/powers of the other heroes are highlighted. I’m not saying that Jason and Percy did not do great feats throughout the quest. In fact, their powers are shown to a great extent in one event in particular. But the others were more active in the story, especially Leo.

The only part that got me puzzled about the book is the ‘viewpoint’ from four heroes. I thought it will be like the Kane Chronicles’ type of storytelling but they actually weren’t. Each chapter just had a specific hero’s name written at the start (and every page of the chapter) but they weren’t talking from the first person POV. It was not “I saw…”, so that was confusing and it did not exactly lend anything to my reading of the story. But it did not detract from my pleasure so it’s okay, I just ignored it.

The Mark of Athena was satisfying and worth every penny, as with the previous two books, The Son of Neptune and The Lost Hero. I’m not crushing on Percy Jackson, but can I say that he was very suave and cool when he saved Annabeth in THAT instance? ;)

The fourth book in the Heroes of Olympus series is The House of Hades. Looks like it’s going to be another year of waiting as its purported release is October 2013. I’m so excited!

If you’re from the Philippines, this book is now available in tradepaperback from National Bookstore and Powerbooks and in tradepaperback and hardbound from Fullybooked and Bibliarch (I got mine from Bibliarch in Glorietta).

Ciao and enjoy reading! Smile


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