The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan


Summary from Goodreads:

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.

With The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan did not disappoint in creating his usual fantastical re-imagination of Greek and Roman Mythology, tying it to pop culture to make the archaic more current. Here we come across a whole new slew of mythological figures and events turned into something one could perceive in the present day. Think ballerina giants, Iphone wielding nymphs, and the fall of Rome via Wonder Bread. Sure, one might probably think the re-imagination is a bit over the top, even the dialogues might be on the too sarcastic side at times. But it's fun! And most importantly, it work's for me. I wouldn't be surprised if middle graders know who Archimedes is, or Mithras, or Arachne for that matter. 

I also appreciate the dynamic created by the author, between the seven demigods. There is that hesitation and guardedness among Jason's team and Percy's. And yet it transitioned to complete and utter trust among themselves that they are willing to risk their lives to save each other. 

I also like the added complication of not just a single quest but a myriad of little ones spring from them. Like a Hydra's head. Solve one problem and a bazillion sprouts from it. Kill the Giants. Save Nico Di Angelo. Find and restore the Athena Parthenos statue. Bring together Greeks and Romans. Save Camp Half-blood. Save Olympus and Save Mankind. That a whole lot of other personal obstacles each of the characters have to overcome on their own. There was a tendency for confusion but nothing that I couldn't handle. :)    

Another thing that I learned about Rick Riordan from reading his Percy Jackson series and now The Heroes of Olympus series is that it is adventure centered, fast paced and fun. The Mark of Athena is still all those things but there seem to be more romance in it. Not the subtle ones that I am used to in his works but it was more of the in your face kind. Quite too mushy and touchy feely for my taste. Teehee. I had no problem with Frank-Hazel-Leo trio through. Perhaps it's the authors way of showing that they are now growing up. Let's blame it on hormones. :)

All in all, it was a brilliant read, another satisfying installment in a series that has become a favorite. I am eager for House of Hades, which will only be out in October 2013. So, if you have any suggestions to stave off my hunger for Greek/Roman Myth retellings do let me know.  

The Mark of Athena is a recipient of The Goodreads Choice Award for Best Middle Grade & Children's (2012)

Award Winning Books Reading Challenge (hosted by Gathering Books) Entry no: 25

Comments

  1. I agree with what you said about this book being a bit cheesy especially the Jason-Piper and Percy-Annabeth moments. I'm really looking forward to the next book! I hope it'll be in Hazel, Frank, and Nico's point of views. Hehe!

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    1. I am excited for The House of Hades too and very much hoping that it will be the POV of those three. Perhaps Reyna could be thrown into the mix as well. :)

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  2. Great review, Tin. I really should read this series. My grandchildren love the books. I did see a Percy Jackson movie with them, though!

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    1. Hi Joyce Ray! I do hope you'll get a chance to read this series. Perhaps your grandchildren will like them as well. I enjoyed this series more than the Percy Jackson one. It's a fun way to learn some mythology.

      Oh that was a fun movie! Although, I wish that they did not deviate from the book too much. Another Percy Jackson movie will be released next year I think, and I am looking forward to it. :)

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