Oh, man. Seriously, Rick Riordan? THAT ending… This is the second time I read The Mark of Athena but that cliffhanger never fails to frustrate me. Good thing that The House of Hades is coming out in a few months and the cover will be revealed this week! Okay, onto the review.
Rick Riordan does it again. He has crafted this book (or this series) masterfully that you can’t help but being thrilled and basically all sorts of emotions while reading the seven demigods’ adventure to stop Gaia and her minions from destroying the world. The Mark of Athena has no less (or maybe more) action, humor and mystery than the previous books, but I have to admit this book has more romance than its predecessors since Percy is reunited with Annabeth, Piper and Jason are together now and Leo, Hazel and Frank are caught in a love triangle. The plot undoubtedly has no dull moments cause they keep facing dangers throughout their journey. I mean, once a problem is solved and the characters have a breath of air, another problem appears and that keeps happening until the end of the book. So. Many. Actions.
Now, let me talk about the characters cause I love them so much.
Percy is still Percy. I love him. He’s funny and protective. I enjoyed his POV. However, now he has to adapt to the fact that he’s no longer the “spotlight” — or leader or whatever you want to call it — in the group cause Jason is also a natural-born leader and some of them haven’t even met Percy before. In the beginning their relationship might be a little bumpy but gradually they start to trust each other more and work together well when facing enemies. Percy also develops a fear after his last bad experience with the Earth in The Son of Neptune and I think it adds another layer to Percy’s character, which is good cause it shows that he’s not that perfect after all. I like characters with flaws.
We finally get Annabeth’s POV! She’s one of my favorite characters from PJO series (I have quite a lot) and this time we get to see the world from her eyes. In this book, Annabeth has a really important role to unite the camps and heal her mother’s grudge toward the Romans. Annabeth has to follow the Mark of Athena to its source and her succeeding could change the course of war against Gaia, making this book has two plots (?): one about the seven’s journey to save Nico who is trapped in Rome, and the other about Annabeth following the Mark of Athena. I always know that she’s brave, smart and determined. But here she proves that she can overcome her fear and you don’t have to win by muscle, you can win by your intelligence.
I remember that I wasn’t a fan of Piper and bored with every of her chapters in The Lost Hero. But here she seems to improve a lot. I think I like her more. Although she’s not that good in direct combat, she saves the crew a few times thanks to her great strategies and now she earns my respect. I’m looking forward to her future development cause to be honest, I think she’s the least developed character of the seven.
Leo… Ah, my baby Leo. Probably the only guy who is funnier than Percy in this series. He never fails to make me laugh with his good sense of humor and never fails to make me sympathize with him. I think he’s an awesome character — apart from his unique ability — but he just doesn’t realize how great he is. He always feels like an outsider and I felt like giving him a hug at some point. I hope he’ll build himself confidence in the future and won’t blame himself for every problem. And he seems to have a tendency of falling in love with a girl he has no chance with. Rick Riordan, you’d better let him get a girl.
Speaking of Leo, he’s caught in a love triangle with Hazel and Frank. I really like Hazel and Frank but I’m really confused with whom Hazel should end up with. She’s cool and mature for her age. I’m a huge fan of Leo but after I re-read The Son of Neptune a few weeks ago, my love for Frank is growing as well. Rick Riordan better give a good resolution to this triangle. Perhaps get Leo a girl so Frank and Hazel can be together??
Same as Piper, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jason in The Lost Hero. In this book I guess I started to like him more. Maybe because he can be funny and reliable sometimes even though he gets knocked out quite a lot in the beginning. And Coach Hedge! I kinda miss Grover (where the heck is he?) and the other character from Camp Half-Blood, such as Clarisse. But Coach Hedge gives a good entertainment and a few set of giggles throughout the book with his silly attitude.
Honestly I thought The Mark of Athena is the best of the series so far. Narrated by Annabeth, Leo, Piper and Percy, it has actions, humor, romance, mystery and heart-pounding moments. Of course, I can’t wait for The House of Hades, especially because of THAT ending and I’m sure Nico will have an important role ahead, assuming the title and his promise to Percy.