Rummanah Aasi
  While the Heroes of Olympus is a spin off series of the Percy Jackson, I highly recommend that readers read the Percy Jackson series first in order to get a proper introduction to Camp Half-Blood and several major characters that are from the prior series as well as the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series. Otherwise readers may feel like they are dropped into a middle of a series and be a bit confused as to what is going on. The review below does not contain any spoilers for The Mark of Athena.

Description (from the publisher): In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?
   The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

Review: Thus far all of Rick Riordan's mythology/adventure books have followed a simple formula: a group of heroes are given incredibly ominous and vague prophecy and in order to understand the prophecy and to avert the end of the world they must go on a quest. Riordan's formula is no different from the original Greek or Roman myths, but he brings a new angle in The Mark of Athena, the third book in his Heroes of Olympus series.
  The Mark of Athena is full of expected adventure and humor along with connections to classic myths, but we are also given an opportunity to witness character and relationship growth of the key characters involved.  The demigods embarked on the dark, twisty, and complex prophecy first mentioned in The Lost Hero, are from two camps, Camp Half-blood for the Greeks and Camp Jupiter for the Romans, who don't have very good diplomatic relations (and that's an understatement). Not only do these demigods have to work together, but they have to build trust, a working relationship, and eventually friendship in order to complete their quest. Riordan builds upon the great foundations of the characters in his other two installments of the Heroes of Olympus series. He successfully achieves this as the demigods also have to complete several mini-quests in addition to the large over-arching adventure.
   The mini-quests not only brings our heroes closer to solving their riddle, but the readers get a great opportunity to zero in on the characters.   This is further amplified when the narrative is once again from multiple point of views, which I didn't find difficult in following at all. We find each character alone and are able to feel their fears, frustrations, and insecurities when they are forced to be in the spotlight instead of on the outer fringes. For example in the Percy Jackson series, Percy is aptly the star hero and though Annabeth was a very strong secondary character, she remained so for the entire series. In The Mark of Athena, we finally get a chance to be in her shoes and see how she uses her trademark wit, smarts, and wisdom to be a heroine.
  I really enjoyed how The Mark of Athena forces our heroes to question themselves. Riordan spends time asking readers what it means to be a hero, to be selfish, and whether or not the gods (major and/or minor) acted out the right way in some of the popular myths, particularly in the case of Athena and Hercules. It's nice to know that even though these characters have divine blood in them, they also retain their very human aspects, which is why I think so many readers are able to connect with them on many levels.
  Though the book is at a hefty tome, less than 600 pages, you can't help but devour it. I finished in less than a week because I needed to know what happened next. Readers will most likely be so immersed in the story and action that they probably wouldn't notice the page length. I do have to warn you that the book ends in a very clever yet cruel cliffhanger. The next book, House of Hades, does not come out until next year. It's going to be a long hard wait to find out what happens to our favorite heroes and heroines.

Rating: 5 stars

Curriculum Connection: English and Social Studies

Words of Caution: There are some scary, fantasy violence that is PG rated. I think this book is appropriate for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: The House of Hades (Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus series, available Fall 2013), Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus, The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh, Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I really need to read this series Rummanah! I loved the movie version of the first book, and books are always better for movies for me, so I really need to give this series a try. I like how the heroes question themselves as well, and make you think about what makes someone who they are:)

  2. Oh, I didn't even realize that this one was out already. I'm going to have to tell my brother since he loves Riordan's books. I've got to start reading them someday too :)

  3. I haven't been reading this series, the first book just didn't grab me the way the Percy Jackson series did and the size was a bit intimidating. I've also seen that my son has been a little less enthusiastic about it. But this book sounds like it might pull him back into the series. I think I'll get it for him thanks to your very informative review. I always like how thorough you are in your reviews. I know exactly what makes this book so much different from the other books in this series and why I'll spend the extra money on it for him.

    When we lived in Sandwich on Cape Cod, my son got to meet Rick Riordan personally and got his picture taken with him (which we didn't get a copy of) and got to ask him some one on one questions. Then the audience got to ask questions. Apparently my son has a writer's brain because he wouldn't answer his question. It was too spot on or gave too much away. I'm not sure now, but he told him "Good try." It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.


  4. I still haven't read any of Riordan's books. I want to start the Percy Jackson series. I have the first book but haven't read it yet.

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