The Mark of Athena
By: Rick Riordan
This was both completely AMAZING and competely HEARTBREAKING. I honestly don't know what I am going to do with myself until this October when Hous of Hades comes out. I was actually crying for the last 30 pages, because I had heard what was going to happen and I didn't want it to happen.
Brave and Smart Heroes: CHECK
Percy: I didn't realize how much older he was in this series until this book. In the first series he just did heroic stuff because he had to or because it would save his friends. But now he is realizing just what it might cost him, what it already cost him. For the first time we see him just wanting a life with Annabeth without monsters or ancient evil villains. His character is developing into more of an adult. He's still his goofy and hilarious self, but he's also braver and more serious. I think a big part of him growing up was also his becoming more introspective. He thought deeply and thoroughly about his past and his future.
Jason: I still really like him. He's actually a lot like Percy, except less of a troublemaker and not as funny. He is determined to not be like the other sons of Jupiter and Zeus (like Hercules). I'm a big fan of his relationship with Piper. She balances him in the exact ways he needs it. He does the same for her. And I love how Rick Riordan wrote the "love triangle" between Piper, Jason, and Reyna. It wasn't even a love triangle really, Jason made his choice from the beginning. He felt bad about it, but he never went back on it. I also really loved Jason and Percy's partly jealous and even partly grudging bromance with each other. It was awesome to see them fight the giants together. Of course as soon as they figure out how to work together one of them falls into the depths of tartarus.
Leo: I didn't realize how much I missed reading Leo's perspective on everything. He's just as hilarious as ever. I ultimately liked Riordan's choice to write about the Sammy/Leo confusion from Leo's point of view. And one of my favorite scenes was when Leo and Hazel got the bronze away from Narcissus (team leo).
Frank: Gosh, I love him just as much from everyone else's perspective. The great thing about these books is that even when you're reading from someone's perspective who doesn't quite understand another character's behavior, the reader always knows and understands. Even with the littlest things like him flinching everytime there's fire around. I am also very much in favor of Frank and Leo's friendship.
Intelligent and Wise Heroines: CHECK
Annabeth: I FREAKING love reading from her point of view. As much as I loved reading her from Percy's perspective in the first series and then from Jason, Piper, and Leo's in The Lost Hero, her perspective is even more amazing. Then her solo quest was easily the coolest thing she's ever done. I have never seen her be more clever or braver. We realized just how introspective and thoughtful she is. Also, we got to see exactly how much she likes Percy (and oh boy, does she love Percy). And honestly, their reunion was one of the most adorable things I've ever read.
"I only attack my boyfriend like that," she promised."
Can I just be her? please?
Piper: I liked her in The Lost Hero, but I absolutely loved her in this book. She always tried to do the right thing. And yes, maybe she's a bit self-conscious, but she's just a really realistic character. I loved her interactions with Hercules and how she refused to give him what he didn't deserve, even when it would have been easier.
Hazel: I just love her too. I had to keep reminding myself that she's technically thirteen, because she acts so mature (I guess that's what being dead for seventy years does to you though). I'm sorry, but I am not okay with the idea of Leo and Hazel getting together. Frank loves her so much, although the Sammy thing makes it more difficult for her.
Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Nemesis: It was really cool to meet her after the Ethan thing in the first series. I'm interested to see if she'll become a part of the next two books, as well.
Echo: Her story was one of the myths that I've actually read and I loved seeing her. I know we probably won't, but I'd love to see her in another book. but, I know she's determined to save Narcissus, no matter how stupid and self-centered he is.
Ichthyocentaurs: Aphros. Can we see more of them! They are almost as awesome as the Party Ponies. IDEA: it'd be really funny/cool to see the ichthyocentaurs and the party ponies fighting together.
Hercules: I've not actually read any of his stories, but now I don't really want to. He's portrayed as such a jerk and pretty vindictive.
Achelous: This might be because it was from Piper's perspective, but I felt bad for him. He had deluded himself to thinking he could have saved Deianira and by extension, he tried to save Piper.
Coach Hedge: As annoying as he is, he's also pretty awesome (despite his trying to kill any person, place, or thing that he crossed paths with.) I started to appreciate him more and more in this book, but I didn't fully appreciate him until this line,
"Coach Hedge was too miserable to help. He kept pacing the deck with tears in his eyes, pulling at his goatee and slapping the side of his head, muttering, "I should have saved them! I should have blown up more stuff!"
Maybe this got to me because I was already an emotional wreck. But this made me sob even harder.
Excellent Plot: CHECK
The plots of these books just keep getting more and more intricate. Now with all seven of the called demigods together the books are getting funnier as well as darker. This book was basically impossible to put down because of all the intricate detailing and the hilarious and admirable characters. I wish this book had been a lot longer (not just so that I would never have to reach the horrible cliff-hanger..) because it was just that amazing. With each book I read of his, Rick Riordan proves again and again that he is an incredibly talented writer. The research and outlining that these books must have taken, I can't even imagine. I adored all the mentions and references he put in from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and of their original adventures together. It made Percy and Annabeth seem more real and genuine, because they had memories, both good and bad, from those times.
This isn't necessarily about the plot, but the detailing in this book was phenomenal. The way Riordan described Rome was beautiful and alluring. It made me want to go to Rome and see all of its modern and ancient aspects tied together by time. When he wrote about how much older it is and feels from America (which, by comparison, is a very new country), I wanted to go see what it felt like to be surrounded by so much history, thousands and thousands of years of history.
This also isn't about the plot, but I love how Rick Riordan pokes fun at certain things in his books, like in this book when he poked fun at the "Real books" vs. ereaders debate in ancient terms.
Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
Even beyond the plot and the action scenes this book was un-put-down-able (that's a word...right? ;) ) because of the fantastic characters. I cannot get over how much I loved the dynamic of all seven of them together. Seeing all of their individual relationships with each other as well as the overall family feeling among the group. This book was brilliantly written and horribly heart-wrenching. I don't think I'll ever get over that ending.
It'll be awful waiting until October for House of Hades and then until the next October for the final book, but I'm glad in a strange way. Because that means that this spectacular series will be stretched out for a couple more years.
"Percy still didn't look happy about it, but he took Annabeth's hand. "As long as you're my buddy, I'm good."
"True success requires sacrifice."
"You know why his bow has cobwebs?" Leo continued. "He uses it to hunt for dates, but he can't find one!"
"Boys," Annabeth interrupted, "I'm sure you both would've been wonderful at killing each other. But right now, you need some rest."
"But he had a gut feeling that there was nothing he could do to help Annabeth this time, other than simply be there."
"-maybe because being in a place so permanent made her feel more permanent."
"Many of the best traps are simple," Annabeth said. "You just have to think about it, and hope your victim doesn't."
"But she wondered why beautiful things had to be wrapped up with evil history. Or was it the other way around? Maybe the evil history made it necessary to build beautiful things, to mask the darker aspects."
"Percy stood on the dock, holding Annabeth's dagger. "You dropped this," he said, totally poker-faced. Annabeth threw her arms around him. "I love you!"
"No doubt Frank would've cursed some more-busting out the golly gees and the gosh darns-but Percy interrupted by doubling over and groaning."
"Yeah," Percy said. "I learned a long time ago: Never bet against Annabeth."
"A hero couldn't control the gods, but he should be able to control himself."
"He wasn't sure if he was mad at Annabeth, or his dream, or the entire Greek/Roman world that had endured and shaped human history for five thousand years with one goal in mind: to make Percy Jackson's life suck as much as possible."
"But Percy didn't feel powerful. The more heroic stuff he did, the more he realized how limited he was. He felt like a fraud. I'm not as great as you think I am, he wanted to warn his friends. His failures, like tonight, seemed to prove it."
"Maybe that's why he had stared to fear suffocation. It wasn't so much drowning in the earth or the sea, but the feeling that he was sinking into too many expectations, literally getting in over his head."
"When he and Annabeth started dating, his mother had drummed it into his head: It's good manners to walk your date to the door. If that was true, it had to be good manners to walk her to the start of her epic solo death quest."
"We're staying together," he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again."