December 28th, 2012

The Mark of Athena

by Rick Riordan

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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 Athenais 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. . . .



Okay, you’ve caught me red-handed: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan isn’t strictly a YA book. In fact, if you venture into your nearest bookstore, you’d find it– shockingly– in the 9 to 12 section. I have but one question: why? Sure, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series featured a 12 year old boy who grew a year older with every book. But even then, I’m nearly positive that more copies sold to the hungry hands of teenagers than to anyone else.

At this point in his life, Percy is still the outrageously witty, devilishly handsome, troublemaker at heart whom we all befriended a few years ago. Except now he’s 16 (still just as mischievous, though) and he has a girlfriend (gasp!). So forgive me if I’m complaining that The Mark of Athena is in the wrong section, but I think we all know where Percy Jackson truly belongs.

And where is that? Nowhere but locked in hand-to-hand combat with monsters, or breathing a few dozen feet under the sea, or making an offhand yet smart-ass remark in the face of death, of course! So dear previous fictional crushes: stand aside and make way for my new favourite couple! Annabeth, you are one lucky demigod.

In this installment of the Heroes of Olympus, Percy, as well as his six gifted demigod friends, work to complete the Great Prophecy and defeat Gaea, who threatens to wake. Do they succeed? I couldn’t tell you. My mistake was in thinking that The Mark of Athena was the grand finale of a trilogy. Fortunately, my favourite demigod’s adventures do not end here. Unfortunately, that means that I’ll have to bear with the major cliffhanger that is the ending of this novel until fall 2013.  Oh, sweet torture! Rick Riordan, ‘cliffhanger’ does not mean actually ending a novel with characters hanging off of a cliff!

It was great to see all of the characters from the first two books of the series come together as a team. What with the endearing competition between our two alpha males, Percy and Jason–pshaw, as if Jason stood a chance!–, the itsy bitsy love triangle between Hazel, Frank and Leo, as well as the sets of adoring couples (and the odd one out), the entertainment was to the maximum. Rick Riordan came through once again with plot twist after plot twist, immeasurable suspense, and hilarity only comparable to that of his other works. I could literally not put this one down. I read it everywhere I went. And you know a book’s good if you’re reading it while watching Die Hard.

Despite my pleas that The Mark of  Athena is a YA novel, it is written in a child-friendly tone. The protagonists remain easy to relate to, and the monsters remain just as stupid and easily tricked. Furthermore, the secondary characters are graced with the predisposition to say “bah!” whenever they’re offended, and I do have to say that that’s something that I tremendously enjoyed. One needs a good “bah!” every now and then.

Consequently, I’ll conclude by saying that Rick Riordan’s novels are oeuvres to be enjoyed by children of all ages. If you haven’t read the Heroes of Olympus series, I recommend that you do so immediately. 5/5 stars!


I’ll keep you posted,


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