Mark of Athena - by Rick Riordan
Mark of Athena

"Don't think about touching this book until you've read the first two."

Rick Riordan's new book, The Mark of Athena, is an exciting adventure novel that continues his series, The Heroes of Olympus. Riordan is a former history teacher, so he already had basic knowledge of the religions in history, which we were first shown in his mythology series, Percy Jackson and the Olympian, (Greek mythology), and later on in his series The Kane Chronicles, (Egyptian mythology.) The Heroes of Olympus continues on about two years into the future from Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and covers Greek and Roman mythology. The Heroes of Olympus is about the goddess, Gaea, who reawakens her children, the giants, so that they in turn could awaken her and help her kill all of the humans on Earth. The series also comes with the return of Percy Jackson, the protagonist of his first series, and his sidekick/girlfriend Annabeth, and it introduces five new demigods, three of which are Roman, and a crazy old satyr with a love for fighting, who must kill the giants with the help of the gods, and prevent the reawakening of Gaea and destruction of life.

I genuinely enjoyed The Mark of Athena, but then again, I have enjoyed all of Riordan's writings that I have read so far, and as always, this book is superior to the ones that have preceded it. The Mark of Athena offers a more in depth view of the emotions of the characters, and also their feelings towards each the other, than in the previous Riordan books, but that just adds to the intensity of the book. I could see myself in the shoes of every single demigod portrayed thoroughly by Riordan, as they are all young adults and he effectively gives them problems and emotions young adults face every day (except for, of course, the fighting monsters and gods and trying to save the world on a regular basis; I don't see many people doing that). For instance, one of the demigods, Leo, is kind of socially awkward and can't really find his place in society, as he is different from everyone else, and another demigod, Hazel, is made fun of because of the reputations of her parents, especially since one is Pluto, the Roman God of the Underworld.

There was really only one detail about The Mark of Athena that I didn't like, which is, it is written with the same flow of events as his previous books, as in: the demigods are given an impossible task to complete in a short period of time, something terrible happens that cuts them off from everyone around them, they get sidetracked multiple times by friends, enemies, and the occasional god, they are constantly followed by the minions of their enemies, have to complete smaller tasks to get to their destination, eventually arrive at their destination on the eve or exact day of their deadline, go through another series of events, finally reach their exact goal, but have to fight a major bad guy, end up defeating him, but then something else terrible happens, ending the book and leading into the next book. But, even though it has the same event flow as the other books, the events are majorly different and more shocking than the last.

The Mark of Athena itself begins with Annabeth and her three new demigods arriving at Camp Jupiter, the home of the Roman demigods, and being greeted by Percy and his two new friends. They all catch up, eat, and have a good time, until they are supposedly attacked, causing the seven new demigods to flee the scene. When they leave, they make a plan to go to Rome to stop an event that was mentioned that would cause major destruction, but also because Annabeth has her own quest, given to her by her mother, Athena, to avenge her and reclaim what was taken. On their way to Rome, the demigods encounter many gods, learning from them that the gods are going somewhat crazy, so they won't be much help on the quest. They eventually end up in Rome, and Annabeth goes off on her own to accomplish her task, while the others plan to take on the evil that awaits them beneath Rome.

If you have read any of Riordan's books, you know how well he can write, and I highly recommend this book, especially if you have read the first two books, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune, and if you haven't read them, don't even think about touching this book until you have.

   - Will F.