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Rick Riordan – The Mark of Athena

October 31, 2012

120. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (2012)
Heroes of Olympus, Book 3

Read my review of book:
1. The Lost Hero
2. The Son of Nepture

Length: 586 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 21 October 2012
Finished: 23 October 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I am hooked, and Riordan’s this year’s drug of choice.

A group of heroes
must save the world… if they can
just trust each other.

Summary: The great prophecy says that demigods from the two camps, Greek and Roman, must work together if they’re to have any hope of defeating the giants and stopping Gaea from rising. But tensions between the two camps have been insurmountably high for as long as anyone can remember… and things aren’t exactly improved when Jason and the campers from Camp Half-Blood show up over New Rome in a giant warship, and things really start going downhill when the ship starts firing. Soon, the seven demigods – Jason, Percy, Annabeth, Piper, Leo, Frank, and Hazel – are aboard the ship, on their way to their most dangerous destination yet: the old world, and Rome. They’re supposed to be a team, but there are lingering trust issues, and each of the heroes has his own worries and agendas. Together they must stop giants from destroying the city, and rescue Nico di Angelo from his imprisonment… but Annabeth has a quest of her own, a quest that not even her closest friends can help her with, a quest that could make all the difference in their battle against Gaea.

Review: Aaaargh Rick Riordan why do you do this to me? Fall 2013? I have to wait an entire year for the next book?!? (Related: Aaaargh self why do you keep reading unfinished and super-addicting series?!?) So, yes. This book was good. Really good. Slump-breaking good. Can’t-believe-we’re-left-with-that-cliffhanger-ending-for-a-whole-year good.

For starters, this book was just as excellent as all of Riordan’s other mid-grade/YA books (and I’d say it’s more the latter than the former). They’re silly, but they’re also smart; they read like guilty pleasures but actually pack in a bunch of mythology and history and geography and clever humor. The jokes work on multiple levels, and there’s practically non-stop action but also some well-done interpersonal relationships and coming-of-age character development. Basically, all of the books in this series are just a blast to read, and this one’s no exception.

But, on top of all that typical Riordan goodness, I thought this book did a lot of things really well. There was some adjustment I had to make to the multi-narrator style of the Heroes of Olympus books after reading five novels with only Percy’s POV. Riordan handles it well, but now that he’s got all seven of his protagonists in one place, I was worried that things were going to get overwhelming, or that some characters were going to get sidelined and forgotten about. But Riordan juggles his increasing cast incredibly smoothly, keeping things moving in a number of different storylines, and making sure each character gets their share of screen time, and of development. He also handles the relationships and the dynamics between the characters extremely well, which led to some of the most surprisingly moving parts of the story. And, of course, the emotional core of this story is always well-balanced with stuff blowing up and Percy making snarky quips about it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: These books are great, but not even a little bit standalone, so don’t start here. The Heroes of Olympus books can ostensibly be read separate from the Percy Jackson series, but because this book deals relatively heavily with Percy and Annabeth’s relationship, I really think they should all be read in order.

When he and Annabeth started dating, his mother had drummed it into his head: It’s good manners to walk your date to the door. If that was true, it had to be good manners to walk her to the start of her epic solo death quest. –p. 385

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Other Reviews: 5 Minutes for Books
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First Line: Until she met the exploding statue, Annabeth thought she was prepared for anything.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 44: ““Pluto’s pauldrons,” Reyna cursed. “Look.”” – either of two metal plates worn with armour to protect the shoulders.
  • p. 132: ““We are the eidolons. We will live again.”” – A phantom; an apparition.
  • p. 272: “Perched on the steps, an old-fashioned radio played conjunto music, and on the shaded porch, sitting in a rocking chair, a skinny old man gazed at the horizon.” – a style of popular dance music originating along the border between Texas and Mexico, characterized by the use of accordion, drums, and 12-string bass guitar and traditionally based on polka, waltz, and bolero rhythms.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2012 5:24 pm

    Oooh! It’s out! How did I miss noticing that it is out?!

    I must read now!!!

    • November 19, 2012 8:36 am

      geek girl – It’s recently out; I only knew about it because I’m signed up for my library’s “New Books” RSS feed. :)

      • November 24, 2012 10:24 pm

        I think I need something like that. I’m currently number 39 or something like that on the hold list because I didn’t pay enough when it was coming.

  2. Heather permalink
    October 31, 2012 10:50 pm

    I don’t know if you’ve read “The Kane Chronicles”, the Egyptian-mythology based Riordan series, but there are three of them, and they are so great on audio, with alternating brother/sister chapters. The reader who narrates Sadie’s chapters, Katherine Kellgren, is sooo terrific with the teenage-British-girl voice! Loved these – the first one is The Red Pyramid.

    • November 19, 2012 8:36 am

      Heather – I just started The Red Pyramid this week, and am enjoying it a bunch. Riordan’s got me good and hooked, for sure.

  3. November 2, 2012 9:32 am

    I really liked the first two books of this series. I’m eager to read this one! Unfortunately I’ve got a horrendous queue. Thanks for your review, though! It makes me more eager to get to it.

    Personally, I feel this series is better than the original Percy Jackson series.

    • November 19, 2012 8:37 am

      Rachel – That’s a tough call. I didn’t like the first book in this series quite as much – I mean, it was good, but I was so used to Percy as a narrator that I found his absence disconcerting. But books 2 and 3 have been excellent.

  4. November 2, 2012 5:09 pm

    I’ve just scanned your thoughts because I haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, but I love your little note to self in the middle of it. And I’m glad to know that there are relationships that carry on in this series, as I’d had the impression that the series could be read independently (but that’s obviously the opinion of someone less obsessed about such things than I/you) so will be sure to finish the series I’m in (on book three) before jumping into this one!

    • November 19, 2012 8:39 am

      BiP – They could be read independently, even by someone (almost) as picky as we are… but I do think the Percy/Annabeth dynamic is better for having “grown up” with them, as it were.

  5. November 6, 2012 10:35 pm

    Hmm, maybe it’s just as well I haven’t picked up this Riordan series yet. I love his other two, so I’ll definitely give it a go. And I’m deeply intrigued by this title–Athena has always been my favorite Greek goddess!

    • November 19, 2012 8:40 am

      Cheryl – It’s agony waiting, but at least Riordan’s good about getting his books out quickly! And Athena’s always been my favorite as well – wisdom and all that. I wonder how many other book nerds would say the same?


  1. Book Review: “The Mark of Athena” | The Cheap Reader

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