**Before reading the “House of Hades” (Book 4 in the Heroes of Olympus series) this October, I’ve been “re-reading” the first three books by listening to the audiobooks (I listen to the audio during my commute to and from work, which saves me time and makes the commute much, much more enjoyable, plus it also gives me a chance to write a review! Hurray for multitasking!)
Title: The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology
Published: October 2012 by Hyperion Books for Children
Recommended as suitable for ages 10 and up
Audiobook: Narrated by Joshua Swanson
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
Here’s a description from the author’s website:
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. . . .
A QUICK 411… The Mark of Athena is the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series (a spin-off of the five-part Percy Jackson & the Olympians series), which is also intended to comprise five books.
WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK?
As with the previous two books, each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the heroes. Picking up from where the second book left off (The Son of Neptune – read my review) the seven demigods involved in the Second Great Prophecy get acquainted with each other. And of course, after months being apart and wondering about each other’s whereabouts, Annabeth and Percy are finally reunited. The Greek team visits Camp Jupiter on a diplomatic mission regarding the Prophecy. Things start well, but goes awry pretty quickly. The seven demigods go aboard the Argo II and sail towards Rome on a quest.
Annabeth goes on a solo mission to avenge her mother, Athena, and find something of Athena’s that was lost. This something has the potential to help heal the rift between the Roman and Greek camps. To find this something, she must follow the mark of Athena (hence the title). Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes on a mission to stop the giants from destroying Rome and save Nico (whom the giants captured and spent most of the story trapped inside a bronze jar).
I still can’t warm up to Leo’s character. I still find him a tad annoying as I did when I read Book 1 (The Lost Hero — read my review). Same with Piper; I still have mixed feelings about her character. Sometimes I think she’s alright, often I don’t. And Frank… I kinda liked him in Book 2, but now, I’m not too sure. His special ability is still awesome, though. I still like Reyna’s character. I think she bears her responsibilities pretty well. She’s quite torn between her wish to help and her duties to her camp, but I like that she still manages to think clearly and remains as reasonable as she can, considering the unfortunate circumstances. Octavian continues to be the most annoying character ever in the Percy Jackson universe (I still feel like strangling him. Well done, Octavian). And poor Nico, in a jar.
TO WRAP IT UP…
The Mark of Athena explores why the Romans and Greeks tend to clash when they meet and it elaborates on why Athena feels nothing but animosity towards the Romans. She insists on being avenged. But of course, Annabeth tries to find another way and get the two camps to work together, which is key to defeating Gaea and her troops.
As usual, it’s quite an enjoyable read and the cliffhanger did its job pretty well (you’d want to read the next book ASAP). I can’t really say if I liked this book better than the previous two, but it’s interesting that the chapters are now told through the perspective of four heroes, each taking turns (Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Piper… I would have preferred Jason and/or Hazel over Leo and/or Piper, but hey, that’s just me).
Annabeth and Percy, together at last. And they are determined not to lose each other again. This little fact plays into Book 4 (The House of Hades), which sets up part of the story in the Underworld. And now that I’m done re-familiarizing myself with the story of the first three books, I’m very much looking forward to finally read Book 4 after a year of waiting for its release!