Book Review : The Mark of Athena The Heroes of Olympus
by Rick Riordan
Annabeth has been given a coin from her mother, Athena, and commanded to “Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me.” Every demigod who has been given this task has not survived. To make matters worse Annabeth is riddled with fears as she is to be reunited with Percy that he will no longer need his old Greek friends.
Annabeth, Jason, Piper and Leo set out in the Argo II as ambassadors to the Roman’s Camp Jupiter. The Greeks and Romans have always been at war, and caused most of the world’s civil wars and everyone is full of anxiety at this initial contact. Though leery, the Romans are willing to listen to the idea of a combined quest until disaster strikes. With no warning the Argo II, under the command of Leo begins firing at Camp Jupiter. Even so, Percy, Frank and Hazel join the others to attempt to end the animosity of thousands of years. Could Annabeth’s charge from Athena be part of the solution? Can these Greeks and Romans learn to trust each other?
Adult Point of View
As always Riordan is creative and fast paced in his novels with action on every page. I have continued to enjoy the melding of the Greek and the Roman mythology. The bad thing about this novel is that it ends on a huge cliffhanger.
One of my favorite additions in this book is that the gods are suffering from something similar to schizophrenia as they fight within themselves with their Greek and Roman identity. Some of the gods remain more constant, such as, Aphrodite/Venus and Nemesis. Other gods like Dionysus/Bacchus are very different. And of course, Athena/Minerva is the most different and is suffering terribly with an entire identity crisis.
Another fun addition is Narcissus and Echo who have been given another term of life with the Doors of Death open. I agree with Leo that Echo deserves someone better than Narcissus. I also like Gaea being portrayed as completely ruthless. I love how she is asleep, though stirring, while she plots to take over the world.
It was very logical that Annabeth’s nemesis that she would have to face would be Arachne, and I would be terrified of her too. I loved Annabeth’s solution to trap the spider-woman through her own pride and a woven jail which the demigod devised using her intelligence because she really had no other weapon.
My favorite new creature is the ichthyocentuar. This hodge podge creature has the fore-feet of a horse, a human torso and head and a fish tail. Apparently it can also have lobster-claw horns.
This novel is written in four different perspectives, Annabeth, Leo, Piper and Percy. I would be curious to know how Riordan chose these four and left out Jason, Frank and Hazel. When the perspective changed the chapters were titled with their name and I didn’t find it to be a problem. In ways I liked hearing from Leo and Piper the most because they have not had as much of a voice in the series to date.
This is a very engaging series and I highly recommend it!
4.25 out of 5 stars
ps – The Teen has not had a chance to read this one yet, but the pre-teen loved it, though did not offer specifics.
Book Review: The House of Hades The Heroes of Olympus
By Rick Riordan
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I have loved how accessible Riordan has made the Greek myths for kids. I have not loved The Heros of Olympus as much because there are double the characters once the Greeks get involved with the Romans. I have also never felt as connected to Jason, Hazel, Frank and Reyna as much as Percy and Annabeth. The pacing of the novel is frantic, which is actually a good thing for young male readers. in particular. In my experience, pre-teen and teen boys lose interest in reading and need a fast pace. Anytime the reader picks up the book he is in for an exciting, death-defying, monster chomping, convoluted resolution, by the skin of their teeth and witty remarks. One thing to note, Riordan had used a great amount of tact referring to how all the gods children were created through the series and hasn’t made it into a salacious novel. In this installment, Zephyr, one of the winds, tells Jason and Nico that he had fallen in love with Hyacinthus, a dude. Zephyr asks Jason if he is shocked. Later, Nico is put into a position by Cupid where he has to confess that he has had a crush on Percy. It seems evident that the situation with Nico will need to be resolved since he is a secondary character and will be in the next novel. With the fast pace these kinds of details easily get lost in the novel, but it is worth noting for parents who are concerned. I prefer novels read by this demographic to be squeaky clean.
It wasn’t my favorite in the series. I liked it, but I think I am tired of the series at this point.
– the Mother
I loved it because it kept the excitement going. I also liked how each person had their own chapters. I like Percy the most.
– the Son (11 years old)