Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus, #3
Release Date: January 1st 2012
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…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After completing the Argo II Leo, Piper, Jason and Annabeth have finally arrived at Camp Jupiter, ready to unite the two camps and get started on their quest to stop Gaea rising. Annabeth and Percy have finally been reunited and together with Frank and Hazel they are preparing the cross the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Rome. However when Leo attacks Camp Jupiter, without any provocation, it gives Octavian all the evidence he needs to declare war on the Greeks and the seven demigods are forced to flee with the Romans close on their tail.
As the repairs to the Argo II force them to stop at the Great Salt Lake Leo and Hazel meet Nemesis, Percy, Jason and Piper meet with Baccus and discover a new enemy to fight against, and Annabeth follows the Mark of the Athena which leads her to a confrontation with the Romans, closer to their tail than anyone realised.
However the small challenges they encounter at the Great Salt Lake are nothing compared to crossing the sea. Annabeth needs to forge her own path, following the mark of Athena to find something that could unite the Greeks and the Romans and stop the war brewing between the two camps. Meanwhile the others need to save Nico, who is the only one who can lead the seven to the Doors of Death they need to close before facing Gaea, but who has been kidnapped by Ephialtes and Otis as bait for a trap.
After two books the seven are finally all together on one ship and their real quest is about to begin. The Mark of Athena is the start of the real danger for our heroes, and after everything that happened in the first two books of this series that is really saying something. Their journey is not an easy one but it was wonderful to read. There is something about Rick Riordan’s writing and his stories that keeps me hooked, I can’t get enough of Percy Jackson and his adventures.
Annabeth is on her own journey in this book, and it is one she needs to walk alone. As a child of Athena she is the only one who can follow the mark and she’s determined to go through with the quest her mother has put her on, despite the danger it may put her in.
What I enjoyed about this book was the chance to see events as they played out through Annabeth’s POV. Annabeth has always been one of my favourite characters in Rick Riordan’s books. She is an important part of the seven, their de-facto leader, a voice of reason to Percy and Jason’s power and wild ideas. She may not be as quick with a sword as Percy or Jason are, or as powerful as Frank is, but she has her brains and that is all she needs to get herself out of any sticky situation.
I waited two whole books for the reunion between Annabeth and Percy and it was worth the wait. I love both characters; they work well as a team, evident in all five books of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, but they also work well when separated. Despite not wanting the other in danger they both know when they have to let go, let the other go on their quest if it means the safety of the world.
With seven powerful demigods all on one ship there are bound to be territorial issues, especially when half are Greek demigods and the other half are Roman. Percy and Jason are sons of two of the big three, very powerful demigods, and on opposite sides of the Greek/Roman divide. They clash a couple of times but there are also times when feel useless on the quest, when the others stepping in to protect them weighs too much on the shoulders of two demigods who are used to stepping in and keeping everyone else safe.
There was also an interesting dynamic between Hazel, Frank and Leo. Hazel has a past with Leo, and it’s a past neither she nor Frank knows how to handle and which causes Frank and Leo to clash. Frank and Leo are completely different characters – Leo is loud and sarcastic to cover his insecurities while Frank seems to wear his on his sleeve, unsure about his place among the seven – and the tension between the two of them is largely a result of that.
One thing Rick Riordan did in the first series and in the first two books of this series was integrate Greek and Roman myths into modern day America. However in The Mark of Athena the Argo II sails to Rome and we see the origins of the myths that have shaped the seven’s lives, and I absolutely love that this series is going to Europe and the countries where it all started. I really enjoyed seeing Rome through the seven’s eyes and I loved all the myths and legends the heroes encountered on the way there; from Hercules and the Strait of Gibraltar to all the monsters they have to fight across the Mediterranean. Rick Riordan has a unique take on the Greek myths, bringing them into the modern era while still staying true to the original tales and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
After the way this book ended I am so glad I don’t have to wait before jumping into the fourth book. I talk a lot about how the cliffhanger in A Gathering of Shadows was agonising to read, well the one in The Mark of Athena would take second place if I had to wait any longer than a minute before starting the fourth book. This series has me hooked, and I don’t think I’d be able to put it down to start something new even if I wanted to.
What did you think of The Mark of Athena? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.