The Mark of Athena by Rick RiordanThe Mark of Athena is the book where Annabeth finally gets her moment in the spotlight - and it was about time! After knowing and loving the character through seven books, I'd say she's earned it. Told in alternating points of view through four demigods, this installment finds the seven heroes of the new prophecy united and taking their quest to ROME where they face bigger dangers - and more giants - as they work together to stop Gaea.
The Heroes of Olympus #3
Published October 2nd 2012 by Disney Hyperion
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....
As the middle book in the series, The Mark of Athena was both thrilling and redundant at the same time. Told through Percy, Leo (my favorite boys), Annabeth (!!) and Piper's eyes, I really enjoyed how everyone interacted with each other and again, I found myself impressed by how Riordan tells the story so well throughout the switches in narrators. I loved getting more time with Percy and Leo, because their sass, sarcasm and humor is THE BEST part of this series. I also really appreciated finally being able to get inside Annabeth's head. Frank felt somewhat ignored in this installment which was sad because I grew to like him a lot in The Son of Neptune. Also, I'm hoping we get Jason's POV again eventually because I feel like I barely know the guy and it's hard for me to think of him as equally awesome as Percy when he still seems like a secondary character.
I am however, starting to get sick of the fact that every.single.final.villain. in this series has been a Giant. Oh sorry, this time it was TWO giants! Never saw that coming. O.O I get that it's Gaea's army and these are her choice minions but you can only encounter so many giants before it starts to seem...less than fresh. I'm sure our heroes still see the challenge there though, but I couldn't help but wish that there were other baddies to be had at the end there. It's starting to feel repetitive, which was a complaint I'd had with the Percy Jackson Series back when I read it. Also, the installments in this series (still) seem needlessly long compared to the original series. I feel like the could have benefited from being trimmed down some. Despite that, there are in fact other horrifying baddies to be found here (poor Annabeth) and well the various Gods and Goddesses always keep things interesting as well.
One of my favorite aspects of The Mark of Athena was getting to explore Rome, which is one of my earliest travel bucket list obsessions. But all the while, I found myself wishing that the heroes had done Greece in the previous series (since that one was all about Greek Mythology and since I adore Greece even more than Rome now) BUT, it looks like my wish will come true in The House of Hades, so I'm over the moon! Needless to say, that I jumped right into HoH after finishing The Mark of Athena - ESPECIALLY considering that cruel, cruel ending. Why Riordan?! WHY would you leave it there?!! Cruel authors and their awful cliffhangers...though it certainly was effective, which I'm sure was the point ;)
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars