The Mark of Athena is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. *Spoilers for the first two books will be inevitable, and there are some spoilers for this book here too*. The Greek and Roman heroes must come together to save (Old) Rome from being destroyed by Gaea and her minions. Like most of Rick Riordan's books, they don't have much time: only six or seven days to Rome and somehow save it. There is also (of course) a prophecy: seven heroes from both camps must do this quest. So we have Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Hazel, Frank and Leo. *SPOILER* When one of them accidentally fires on the Roman camp, they must flee, with the Romans hard on the heels, and very, very angry. *END SPOILER* But Annabeth has another worry too. The last time she met up with her mother, Athena, Athena gave her a token and told Annabeth that she must follow the Mark of Athena and avenge her. So Annabeth has a lot to do, and it's not going to be pretty. Oh, and she's worried that Percy might have changed after his time in the Roman camp. Four of the demigods take turns narrating The Mark of Athena.
I read the second book, The Son of Neptune, way back in January 2012, so a lot of the events that were referenced in The Mark of Athena went over my head. After a little bit, I remembered all the main characters and their relationships to one another, but when they talked about certain adventures that they'd had, I couldn't remember it at all. Somehow though, that wasn't too detrimental to my reading, and I could still enjoy this book.
The Mark of Athena is very long, and that's because there are lots of adventures, and the book talks about the characters' changing relationships as well. On the ship en route to Rome, they all get a chance to know one another a bit better, which is a really important part of the book. Different groups of the characters go on smaller quests to get information and then come back to their warship, the Argo II. Speaking of the Argo II, it has all these amazing amenities. I wouldn't mind riding on it. The characters in The Mark of Athena are developed so well and there's action, inevitably making for a longer book. But I didn't feel like it was overwritten or there were too many scenes. The Mark of Athena was a real page-turner, and though there was less trademark Riordan humor, some of that was still present. The heroes have to use some creative ways to get out of tight spots.
In The Mark of Athena, the reader meets a lot of new secondary characters and some ones we've met before, too. For example, towards the beginning of the book, Leo and Hazel are going to look for some metal to repair the ship, and they encounter Nemesis, the goddess of revenge. A bit later on, they also meet Narcissus. But we also encounter Aphrodite, Athena, and the other well-known gods.
The Mark of Athena was a great (if long) third book, and I would highly recommend it.
Read The Mark of Athena:
- if you like Rick Riordan
- if you like fantasy
- if you like Greek mythology