The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yes, I’m giving it five stars! I had yet to give any of the previous PJ or HoO books five stars, but I really, really enjoyed this book. Also, when I think about the fact that this is for children, it definitely deserves five stars.
With a lot of more mature-themed YA novels that I’ve been reading recently, there’s not a great amount of time where you get to laugh so much about what characters do or say or think, but I really admire the way Rick Riordan seems to know how to make people laugh. The humorous moments can be in the most inappropriate situations, but when you think about the characters, it just makes so much sense that they would pick that moment to say that specific thing or think that specific thought. I literally laughed out loud quite a bit reading this, and I appreciated it. It also relieves the tension
The challenges and adventures they go through are brilliant and exciting and fun, but you do sometimes get a chance to breathe as well, usually not for very long though before the next “situation” comes along, and there are tons of them.
The new characters/gods/goddesses that they meet are always interesting because you just don’t know exactly what side these characters are on. Are they for the Olympians? Or are they for Gaea? Or do they just hate demigods?
What’s really great is the interactions and the POVs from each of the seven heroes on the quest. I can honestly say that I kept having to remind myself who was Greek and who was Roman because they all just seemed to work together well enough that it didn’t make a difference which side they were on. As a reader, you get the advantage of knowing each of the characters thoughts about certain situations, although sometimes that can be a little frustrating because you want them to tell the others how you feel or what you know when they don’t.
What’s cool is learning these characters as they learn more about themselves and their abilities, their strengths, and even their weaknesses. You can see they’re learning, but that they also still have a lot to learn as well. Especially in knowing that they need to work together and not separately, as they seem to be used to going about things through most of their lives. It’s a great teaching tool that Rick has always seem to be easily able to include through his storytelling, and I admire him greatly for it.
All in all, this is an excellent addition to the Heroes of Olympus collection and I definitely encourage all children to make time to read this, whether for school reading or for fun, because it works for both!
(highlight with your cursor below to view spoiler)
I am finally realizing how awesome Percy Jackson is. I know, I know! Shame on me, I can’t explain it. Despite the fact that he always had that sass, I apparently didn’t really notice how much he had until this book, although I do recall some of it in SoN. But in the end of this book, when he refused to let go of Annabeth, knowing she was bound for Tartarus, willing to go to the darkest, most insane place that not even the gods would go to, to be with her even if it meant death for both of them, that did it for me. It was a real heart-churning moment and both him and Annabeth truly belong together, and I mean that in the best way possible.
There are so many awesome and humorous one-liners in here, especially from Leo and Percy. Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything; just reading from their POV is funny.
I was fond of Leo almost from the beginning of TLH, but the idea that he’s the seventh wheel in this group makes me ache for him more. I fear what may happen to him in future books, but I hope Riordan doesn’t pull a Dashner or a Collins or a Rowling on us with Leo. Nor would I want anything fatal to happen to any of these characters, really. But Leo… I mean… you can’t have “Team Leo” in there only to break our hearts later… can you?!
What’s also interesting is the character Reyna seems to need love also, and I feel sorry for her, for having to go through things pretty much more alone now than ever, and having to battle her desire to find friendship with the Greek demigods, including Annabeth, with her praetor duty for vengeance for New Rome… all by herself at the moment. Sure, there’s Octavian, but he’s not even praetor, nor is he all that likeable. No, both her current praetor and her former praetor are off together on the other side of this war of Greeks vs. Romans.
Annabeth Chase, I’ve grown to admire immensely. At first I always thought her to be much too strong-willed, but now getting perspective from other POVs on her as well as her own POV, I’ve been able to see why she does what she does and how her and Percy are so good for each other. Even when she flipped Percy on his back after their first kiss in months, I found it endearing in a weird way. To know through her POV how much she truly did love Percy and wanted him to be with her, it opened my eyes to see who she really was.
The other heroes have great stories too, all about their insecurities and such and each one is endearing in their own way. Frank and his insecurity of Hazel and Leo’s relationship and his awkwardness, Piper and her insecurity about her future and her own power, Hazel and her fear for her brother Nico, and Jason and his insecurity about having to rely on others. What’s cool is that they’re all things we can relate to, not in a demigod way, but in other ways in which we have strengths and weaknesses and we constantly have to battle them.
I’m sure there’s more to say about it, but I will end it here. I’ll just say again how great and fun this book was.
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