Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mark of Athena

Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2012

Welcome to book three of Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. This, of course, is the sequel series to his previous Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This one picks up immediately where The Son of Neptune left off, with Annabeth, Jason, Leo and Piper arriving at Camp Jupiter in the Argo II, an airship built by Leo. It was difficult for me to really remember everything I needed to remember going into this thing since it's been a little over a year since I read the last book. But the author is nice enough to fill in the gaps along the way.

The world is still in peril. The earth mother, Gaea, is still in the process of waking from her slumber. Her plan to fully awaken and destroy mankind is progressing nicely, despite the young heroes' attempts to stall her. Each action taken by the heroes, though seeming to be the right thing to do, generally ends up playing right into the dirt napper's muddy hands.

In this installment, we follow all seven of the demigods who are identified in the great prophecy that predicts Gaea's awakening. Particularly of interest is Annabeth. Being a daughter of Athena, her role in a book titled The Mark of Athena seems undeniably important. While the entire group is on a quest to stop Gaea from waking, Annabeth must undertake a side quest of her own, following the mark of Athena to find an important object that could heal the rift between Greece and Rome. This is a rift that has been there for thousands of years, so her task is not an easy one.

But before Annabeth can follow the mark of Athena, she and her fellow heroes have to face obstacles all along their path to the Old World. Leo is briefly possessed by an evil spirit that forces him to attack Camp Jupiter (this really doesn't help with that rift between the Greeks and Romans). They come across the ultimate narcissist, Narcissus. They meet up with Bacchus, the Roman version of Camp Half-Blood director Dionysus. And as they enter the Mediterranean Sea, they meet the legendary Hercules, who turns out to be a pretty big jerk.

Like with the previous novels in this series, the heroes have to face a giant or two. Unlike the previous novels in this series, that battle with the giants is somewhat anti-climactic. The real excitement is saved for Annabeth and her side quest. She faces Arachne, the woman who once challenged Athena to a weave-off and, according to the myth, lost. As punishment for her arrogance, Athena turned her into a spider. It seems that all children of Athena have an innate fear of spiders for this very reason. But Annabeth succeeds and is reunited with the other heroes just in the nick of time but then... I won't say what happens. But it's good. And it's a cliffhanger, which I hate. Because I have to wait until next year for the next book in the series to come out.

All in all, I give it a thumbs up. And if you're interested in going back and reading my thoughts on the previous books in the world of Percy Jackson, the links are below.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan's Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

The Heroes of Olympus
The Lost Hero
The Son of Neptune

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