The wait is over! The Mark of Athena – the third installment of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series – is finally here!
As you may have read, the Heroes of Olympus is the sequel series of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, also by Rick Riordan. If the prequel series uses Titanomachy as its main focus (a war between the Olympians and Titans), this series focuses on Gigantomacy (a war between giants who are the children of Gaea and Olympians). This book particularly tries to tell us how the Romans and Greeks were divided and could never be in peace in the presence of others. And now, let us take a peek on the book.
The Mark of Athena starts right after the end of The Son of Neptune and follows the arrival of Argo II, a magical giant flying ship created by Leo Valdez, in the Roman demigods’ camp, Camp Jupiter. Chapter I, narrated from Annabeth’s point of view, tells of the situation of the ship where they were confronted by Terminus, the god of boundaries. Terminus disallowed them to land on the New Rome because the ship contained weapons and they are not allowed inside Roman soil in the Pomerian Line. Annabeth, seeing Percy from above with Frank and Hazel, decided to keep the ship aloft and descended to the city with a rope ladder.
Both sides met in a friendly term. The Romans, led by Reyna the praetor, gave them a welcome feast. Annabeth reunited with Percy and explained their quest to the ancient land, Greece and the probability of both camps to team up to defeat Gaea, the most ancient deity of the mythology. There, they met the harpy Ella, who recited the prophecy for the book involving Annabeth and The Mark of Athena. Reyna soon had a private discussion with Annabeth concerning the prophecy, of her being a child of Minerva – Athena’s Roman aspect – in Camp Jupiter, which was a rare event and told her of the nature of Romans and Greeks. When Annabeth was about to reply Reyna of her arguments, Argo II attacked New Rome, enraging the Romans.
The party (Annabeth, Leo, Jason and Piper) was forced to leave Camp Jupiter for good with Percy, Frank and Hazel, as they are the seven demigods of the Prophecy of Seven to do their quest. After some delays to repair the ship, a revelation of Nico di Angelo’s whereabout (who disappeared by the end of The Son of Neptune) and a battle with Romans at Fort Sumter where Annabeth was confirmed of her own personal quest to follow The Mark of Athena, the group learnt of surprising yet helpful knowledge. The knowledge involved Nico’s capture in the hands of twin giants Ephialtes and Otis, and how Annabeth’s personal quest of following the Mark of Athena could resolve the conflict between Romans and Greeks, thus giving them a chance to save the world.
But, were they really able to prevent the rise of Gaea and giants? Could they close the Doors of Death? This book offers us the answers and some key elements to the ending of the saga, which are proven to be useful for us to understand Percy Jackson’s world.
The book’s main element – which I found very interesting – is its narration. Rick Riordan once again applied the third-person narrative from the eyes of the Greeks – Percy, Annabeth, Leo, and Piper – that gives us some personal knowledge of them. It is fun to learn how the characters solved their problems from the encounters with deities and monsters, like we are on their heads when they thought about it. Mr. Riordan also wrote the book in a very relaxing style that makes our eyes can’t leave the pages. His style of language is – mostly – consisted of the usage of informal speech we see in daily life to be applied between friends. This element is one of the key factors which make Mr. Riordan’s books attractive for the eyes of young adults.
However, the temporary uncertainty of its plot confuses me sometimes. Mr. Riordan wrote some unexpected events which I found boring and unnecessary– e.g. Hercules’s quest for Jason and Piper to take Achelous’ another horn. But for other readers, these events can be intermezzos that give them a rest from the “importance of saving the world” idea Mr. Riordan repeatedly stressed.
Overall, this is the kind of fantasy we have been craving for and soon you will find yourself can’t stop to read the book, once you buy it.