[Review] The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This review is of a re-read, I originally read this book in 2012.

The Mark of Athena
(Heroes of Olympus #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Pages: 586 (Paperback)
Genre: MG – Adventure, Fantasy

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…


Review
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.

Rating:
5 Cakes!

[Mini Reviews] The Son of Neptune & Requiem

Hey! I re-read The Son of Neptune a couple weeks ago and haven’t written a review for it. I just finished Requiem last Saturday but I was too lazy to write a proper review so that’s why I wrote mini reviews for them!

(Heroes of Olympus #2)
by Rick Riordan
MG – Adventure, Fantasy
Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. Somehow he has managed to make it to a camp for half-bloods, but it doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job out of it. Now, because of a mistake she made back then, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could rise away all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes, but he doesn’t see it. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend. He trusts her completely – enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and feature other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophecy of Seven.
Review
This is the second time I read The Son of Neptune and it was still amazing. In fact, I think I loved this book even more after re-reading. I liked Hazel and Frank more. I actually felt for Hazel, when she had those flashbacks, and her character developed well until the end of the book. I appreciated her bravery and her determination to protect the ones she loves. I sympathize with Frank and what I liked the most from him was his commitment to put duty first before his own life. He also became more confident in the end as he accepted his weaknesses and realized that he, too, has a gift. Before, I thought that Percy was the highlight of this book but now I realized that Hazel and Frank are as important as he is. Each character has his/her own moment to shine. The plot was unquestionably full of actions and I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite knowing the ending and all. I got to pick up the little things I missed and I was struck when I spot a few quotes that might foresee the future in the next books. And that made makes me scared. 🙁 But this book also gave me a good amount of humor. 🙂

5 Cakes!

***
(Delirium #3)
by Lauren Oliver
YA – Dystopia, Romance

As her country erupts in open rebellion, Lena fights for the resistance and must make a heartbreaking choice between two loves.
After saving Julian from a death sentence, Lena escapes with him and other members of the resistance. But as she embraces her love for Julian, a boy from her past returns and causes her to question everything.
In the meantime, Lena’s best friend, Hana, is engaged to Portland’s young mayor and is living a safe, proscribed, loveless life. The story is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view.
As Lena struggles to save the people she loves, everything comes to a head in this exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s epic trilogy. Requiem is a sophisticated, wide-ranging novel that explores the large issues of society, government, and resistance, and of course, there is romance.

Review
I really loved Delirium. And I thought Pandemonium was not as good as Delirium, but still loved it anyway. As for Requiem… You could say that I was disappointed. There were still elements that made me fall in love with this series in the first place (for example: beautiful writing). But there were also things that made Requiem less enjoyable for me. I felt the pacing in the beginning was slow to the point I almost wanted to throw this book away and do something else instead. Requiem is told in Lena’s and Hana’s POVs. I could distinguish who is who, but at times I thought the multiple POVs were useless. I would rather have a single POV, although Hana’s POV was quite interesting sometimes. The love triangle didn’t really work for me. The love interests were likable in the previous books but in this… I didn’t feel anything for them until the end I was leaning towards Alex (again). Speaking of the ending, most people thought it was disappointing. However I, surprisingly, was quite satisfied by it. I mean, when I first reached the ending I was like, “What?? Did it just end? That was the ending?” *checked the pages afterwards and found nothing other than the acknowledgement* Lots of questions popped up on my mind but not long after that, I actually felt pleased. 🙂

3 Cakes!

[Review] Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 328 (Hardcover)

Summary

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters–after all, she’s spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss–but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won’t leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home–like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He’s hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.




Review

Sweet Shadows takes off directly after Sweet Venom. Unlike Sweet Venom, I actually enjoyed reading this from the beginning. Everything is more intense here than the first book. I still like the monster-fighting scenes, btw. As expected, the book is written in Grace, Greer and Gretchen POVs. Their voices are clear and different – I could easily recognize them. And Nick, who I thought was very annoying and too persistent in the first book, grew on me and I started to like him. Though the fact that he plays important role in this series is predictable since the first book. 

There’s more romance in this book. I’m fine with Gretchen and Nick pairing. I’m slightly okay with Grace and Milo pairing. Though I have to admit that I felt Grace is trying to be not herself, pretending to act cool and so on when she’s with Milo since the first book.

And there’s Thane. I fell in love with his character instantly when he first appears in Sweet Venom. I mean, who doesn’t love mysterious boys? I really want to know more about him! He doesn’t get much scenes in this book, but I’m sure he will get a lot more in the third book.


Overall, Sweet Shadows is full of action, mysteries to unravel and if you like Percy Jackson series or Tera Lynn Childs’s Oh.My.Gods series, then maybe this is the right book for you! 

Rating:

4 Chocolate Cakes

Why four cakes?

Well, I love this book very much but why I give this book 4 rating instead of 5? The reason is because I felt that something is missing in this book. But I’m not sure what. I just felt it bugging me after I finished reading this book.

[Review] Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 345 (Hardcover)

Summary

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.



Review

The beginning seems very slow. I couldn’t concentrate with it, well, mainly cause my mom set the TV volume really loud that I got kind of distracted. The pacing doesn’t get any faster until a quarter of the book. Other than that, the story was enjoyable for me and I was literally eating my late-breakfast while reading it. (That’s why I finished my breakfast so slow!)

Sweet Venom is narrated by the Gorgons-descendant-triplets Gretchen, Grace and Greer. I could distinguish their voice easily and the author has written their POVs well. Greer doesn’t appear until half of the book though. At first I didn’t like Grace, but gradually she grew on me because she has the spirit and doesn’t give up easily even though the other sisters decide to be alone instead of hunting monsters together.

I like the concept. (Well, I’m a Greek mythology fan!) I mean, usually Medusa and her sisters are described as evil, snake-haired girls, whose eyes can turn people to stone. Instead, here they’re the guardians, protecting human from monsters and harmless eyes that can hypnotize for a short period of time. Sweet Venom is all about the reunion between long-lost sisters who eventually decide to stick together. By the way, I love the monster-fighting scenes and I think the author portrays them well.

Besides the triplets, I also love the secondary characters like Milo, Grace’s mom and especially Thane! His quite and mysterious attitude makes me wanna know more about him and I hope we get to know what happens to him in the next book.

The next book? Of course I’m going to read it! Overall, Sweet Venom is a great first book of a series. I recommend it for all Greek mythology lover.


Rating:

4 Chocolate Cakes!