Review – Heroes of Olympus: Mark of Athena (Book 3) by Rick Riordan
As expected the 3rd installment on Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series is a complete and total success! Mark of Athena was everything fans of the series, like me, wanted…. and then some.
First and foremost and wonderfully so…we get Percy back! I mean, sorry to all Jason fans out there but you have to admit Percy is the big star here…the one that’s first in the billing, so to speak. I know, I know it’s supposed to be a series for the Heroes of Olympus but as much as Riordan tried to give each character equal exposure it’ll always be Percy’s gig. Undeniably, Percy is the strongest demigod of the lot irregardless of the fact that Jason is supposed to be the son of Jupiter himself.
Of course all the usual stuffs we’ve come to expect from Riordan’s books were there…the monsters, the spoiled and most of the times useless gods and goddesses of Olympus, and of course the brave and witty heroes. I was also thrilled to see Annabeth and Percy back together. As one who have followed these characters from the very first book (The Lightning Thief) it was wonderful to see how well they’ve developed as demigods, as a team and as a couple. In this book, the reader is given an insight to the depth of their relationship and for the first time we are given a chance to know what they meant to each other. To a certain extent, their relationship seems way more mature than most real life relationship and yet if you’ve read through the Camp Half-Blood series and now the Heroes of Olympus it is all believable considering all the stuffs these two have been through.
“It’s okay,” he said. “We’re together.” He didn’t say you’re okay, or we’re alive. After all they’d been through over the last year, he knew that the most important thing was that they were together. She loved him for saying that.” – Annabeth
When I read these lines, the realization hit me that, yes, Percy and Annabeth were at their best when they work together. As reader who’ve been with them from the very beginning I personally feel better when they are together, it’s like no matter what the Gaea or any Titan does they will always breeze through it, if they’re together. *blush* I guess I’ve always been a huge PercyBeth shipper.
Here we are also given a chance to get to know the other demigods better. Leo was outstanding and so cool. He was smart and almost as witty as Percy. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next books.
“I try not to think. It interferes with being nuts” – Leo Valdez”
Another character which I am interested to know more about and see more in action in the next couple of books is Frank Zhang. I like the combination of being the son of Mars and the legacy of Poseidon in him. I am interested to see what his role will be in the next two books.
Now, since there should be seven demigods who had to do this quest – the last two of the lot are Piper McLean from the Greek side; the daughter of Aphrodite, and Hazel Levesque, who is a daughter of Hades. Piper has the ability to charm speak, in the book we saw Piper using her ability to get them in a couple of tight situations but I am guessing that she is yet to show her real strength. Hazel like her brother Nico di Angelo has the ability to find her way underground, she can feel things buried in the earth and has the ability to raise gems from the ground. I don’t know how that ability will be used in later books but I am optimistic the author will have great plans for these girls. I am guessing that Hazel’s power will be quite useful once they go down to the underworld, maybe she will compliment Nico in the next book. However, I am not really sure how Piper will use her charm speak, maybe it will grow stronger in the next book such that she can even control monsters with it though I am doubtful since Aphrodite was never known to be able to control anyone by mere suggestions, though she can use deceit quite well.
One thing is certain though, Nico di Angelo will play a big role in the next book, he will be a key player in the events in the next book and maybe we will be treated to more information about him. If there’s a sexy, mysterious guy character in this series that would be Nico…hehehe! I mean, we’ve known Nico since the first series and yet little is known about him – his past or even his character aside from the fact that he had a twin sister who died in the Camp Half-Blood series and that he’s always kept to himself but help out the other demigods when he’s needed.
And as to be expected from Rick Riordan’s books, this one ended pulling with it a lot of anticipation for the next one. Aside from the obvious action packed events to come there were also plenty of unanswered questions that needed to be resolved which makes for a good book 4.
“Percy, let me go” she croaked. “You can’t pull me up.”
His face was white with effort. She could see in his eyes that he knew it was hopeless.
“Never,” he said. He looked up at Nico, fifteen feet above.
“The other side, Nico! We’ll see you there. Understand?”
Nico’s eyes widened. “But-”
“Lead them!” Percy shouted. “Promise me!”
Below them, the voice laughed in the darkness. Sacrifices. Beautiful sacrifices to wake the goddess.
Percy tightened his grip on Annabeth’s wrist. His face was gaunt, scraped and bloody, his hair dusted with cobwebs, but when he locked eyes with her, she thought he had never looked more handsome.
“We’re staying together,” he promised. “You’re not getting away from me. Never again.”
Only then did she understand what would happen. A one-way trip. A very hard fall.
“As long as we’re together,” she said.
She heard Nico and Hazel still screaming for help. She saw sunlight far, far above- maybe the last sunlight she would ever see.
Then Percy let go of his ledge, and together, holding hands, he and Annabeth fell into the endless darkness.”
With an ending like that, how can the reader not be impatient for the next book which according to Rick Riordan himself will be titled “Son of Hades”. Yikes!