Title: The Mark of Athena (Book 3 in The Heroes of Olympus)
Author: Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 2, 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…
This third installment of the Heroes of Olympus is the best part yet, and I have no doubt that the fourth book will be even better. Riordan has brought together the best of the first two books – the characters. Leo and Percy’s humor never fails to make me laugh; Jason and Percy together are freaking amazing; Piper and Jason make a fantastic couple; Annabeth and Frank have an intriguing relationship; the Hazel-Leo-Frank triangle and all the surprises contained in that box of fun were entertaining; and having Annabeth reunited with Percy was soooo cute!! The two of them together are usually the best scenes, and the fact that it’s really dawned on both the reader and characters as they reminisce about how they’ve really grown up since The Lightening Thief.
What I really liked in this book was how the quest and the characters’ development was really entwined. Of course, they were pretty well-mixed in the rest of his books, but I think that this has been the most effective book when it comes to the growth of the kids and the action for the readers. Plus, for any Percy/Annabeth (Percabeth – which I don’t really like this couple’s nickname) fans, it is both touching and heart-rending, especially when they are forced to split up again for Annabeth to follow the Mark, and then again at the end – which I’m not going to reveal – where readers (like myself) will scream in frustration because they want the fourth book, like, NOW, Mr. Riordan, and NOT next fall!
I liked that there was a lot more focus on Leo in this book, with the Hazel/Frank thing they all had going on. With those secrets of the past revealed, it got pretty awkward there for a while. I can’t wait to see how their love? lives turn out, especially with Leo’s foretelling from Nemesis. Besides that, though, Frank has his firewood problem, and I want to know how that’s gonna work out with him and Annabeth. I also liked how Piper and Jason got along; they took some time, but the end showed their growth as a couple, too. And adding Percy into the mix created some humor and tension between the two powerful demigods, so seeing Piper’s unimpressed view of Percy was interesting. It was nice to know that there was one less girl vying for his attention *ahem, me!, cough*. But seriously, I enjoyed the way the Greeks and Romans on the ship had to learn to work with each other; even though they didn’t have as hard a time as Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood have with getting along, it was a good lesson, and having Coach Hedge there actually helped because if there was one thing that they all agreed on 100% of the time, it was that he should never be in charge of the weapons except in case of an emergency.
Basically, I loved this book, just as I have loved every single Rick Riordan book that I have read so far. I can’t wait for The House of Hades coming out next fall – so far away! In the meantime, though, I’ll be thinking about that ending – and writing him letters so that they push the release date up!!