Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: The Mark Of Athena

The Mark Of Athena (Heroes Of Olympus #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: October 2, 2012
586 pages
5 Gold Stars

NOTE: I highly suggest you read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series first, as it sets everything about this series in motion. Then, follow that with The Lost Hero, and I promise you won't regret it.

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

Percy Jackson is, without a doubt, my favourite. I just want him to be real so we can hang out in bubbles under the sea together (Annabeth is definitely invited too!) I fell in love with him when he was just a 12 year kid with ADHD and didn't know what he was capable of. Turns out, he's capable of quite a lot. Being the son of Poseidon and all, he has a real knack for getting into trouble and finding just the right way to get out of it. His friends certainly help him a lot, especially Annabeth, the wise daughter of Athena, who steals his heart and promises to never let go. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series ends with our friends, now teenagers, destroying the Titans and saving Olympus. Percy also gets the perfect underwater kiss from Annabeth and things seem like they're looking up for our young heroes.

Which is why, of course, the Heroes Of Olympus series starts with a whole new problem and all new quests. We meet a new group of demigods and discover a whole new enemy that must be defeated. In the first instalment we meet Jason, Piper, and Leo. Jason doesn't remember who he is and it turns out that he is from a Roman camp that has been hidden from the Greek demigods. Hera has swiped him and Percy, hoping that they each can gain the trust of the opposite camps so that they can work together to defeat Mother Earth from awakening and destroying Olympus once and for all. Percy has been at the Roman camp becoming friends with Hazel and Frank. Together, the seven of them make up a big prophecy, one that may end some of their lives.

The Mark Of Athena starts with what we've all been hoping for - a Percabeth reunion. Having to go through two books knowing they weren't together was torture, and when they finally meet each other after those long months apart, it is perfection. Riordan knows how to make us want more. And just as Percy and Annabeth are getting to remember each other, the crew is sent through the Mediterranean to Rome to find Nico, Hades's son who has been captured by giants. Annabeth has her own quest she must complete though. She must follow the mark of Athena and find the missing Athena statue and return it to Olympus. The only problem is she must do it alone and it's all Percy can do not to stop her. Just as our power couple is brought back together, they are torn apart and we are left wondering if they will ever see each other again. 

This book has a lot more character development than most of the others. Told from four different viewpoints, we see some couples grow closer together while others fall apart. Piper and Jason seem to have a superficial relationship, but I know they both love each other deeply. Leo reminds Hazel of her old boyfriend and is therefore thinking about him as well as her boyfriend, Frank. But what's important is that Greeks and Romans work together to fulfill the prophecy and rescue Nico. While the other Romans plan an attack on Camp Half-Blood, our heroes work together to try and close the Doors of Death and bring peace and order back to the world. 

The adventures in this book trump all the others. As soon as they land in Rome, you know things are going to get tough. With plans of going to Greece in the next book, The House Of Hades, I know this quest will just get more epic by the minute. Will our heroes survive? Can they close the Doors of Death? I don't want to spoil the ending of this book, as it is a turning point in the story, but all I'll say is that if you weren't attached to the characters when you started H.O.O., you'll certainly be eager to read the rest of their story come November next year. This series is turning out to be tougher, wittier, and scarier than the last, keeping you turning the pages until the very end and then saying "Wait? It's over?" when you get there.

“It's okay,” he said. “We're together.” He didn't say you're okay, or we're alive. After all they'd been through over the last year, he knew that the most important thing was that they were together. She loved him for saying that.” 

“We're staying together," he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again.” 

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