Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Pub. Date: October 2, 2012
Pub: Disney-Hyperion Books
Genre: YA Fantasy Mythology
Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket, Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving command: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?
Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader—but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened the audiobook via Audible. Things are finally starting to pick up, tensions are higher than ever, and the 7 heroes are finally on their way to save the world…again. If you want to check out my review for the PJO series, The Lost Hero or The Son of Neptune – I’ve linked those posts!
I enjoyed this book and the cute moments between Percy and Annabeth. I also loved that we get to see a much more vulnerable side to her, since for most of these books, she’s tough, a badass and never stops. She’s strong, and I absolutely love it when strong characters lose their strength and have to rely on people.
I will also say that the big oh my god moment didn’t hit as hard as I thought it would. I kind of expected this book to break me – a lot of people said it might, but other than a little twinge of “oh fuck this is happening” I didn’t really react. Probably because I expected it and knew the next two books were already out. Though, I can image how distraught I would have been having to wait for The House of Hades if I’d read them as they came out. I actually kind of feel like I missed out, and I don’t really know how to review this book. I thought it was maybe a little bit slow and I found myself taking breaks from listening to listen to music or just talk to coworkers. Maybe part of that was the dread of knowing how it was going to end I was trying to prolong the pain, but then there wasn’t really any pain and I just feel anticlimactic.
But, having Annabeth go through something so traumatic, to face her fears and use her brilliance to go on this solo quest – damn. I did hate that she and Percy were apart…again…but their reunion is sweet…or bittersweet, I guess. Their relationship is so wonderful and sweet and legit endgame. Like, I get it now, everyone’s obsession with Percabeth and these characters.
I also really loved the drive to find Nico. Having now finished the series (I know, I’m getting ahead of myself) he’s probably my favorite character next to Percy. His whole character arc is wonderful – and yes, painful. But his growth by the end of the last book…Nico deserves happiness. The whole plot to find Nico and save him was this great uniting factor for the team.
I loved the little side quests and how the group split up into different groups, and not necessarily with their friends – it was who was right for the job. Also, can we talk about how kind of useless Jason is in this book – he’s knocked out constantly. I love him, but damn.
Gaea is starting to get more active and the monsters keep coming – though a lot of them seemed weirdly easy to beat. Like, especially the twin giants – those two were just kind of dumb and silly. Though, you plop me in front of a giant ass spider – Arachne – and I would have noped out of there so fast the Athena Parthenos would have been left in the dust. Sorry, the world can burn. Annabeth is stronger than me. I can’t do spiders.
Overall, I loved the bonds the demigods start to form and the cohesive unit they started to become. They really balance each other out and play up their strengths. I loved it.
On a little side note: I also kept thinking – and I hate that I was even thinking this, because Rick Riordan is a master at wonderful storytelling – that I wished the books had been older. More specifically the cast. Yes, they’re all teens but they range from 15-17 and that’s still incredibly young. And yes, again, I’m reading these books late and they’re technically geared to a younger demographic and not necessarily 26-year-old girls. But I couldn’t help but thinking of how interesting it would have been to have them all be actual young adults, no chaperone, though I love Coach Hedge. Maybe I’m past the point where 15-17 can believably take on the world and win, or maybe I’m reading too much upper YA/NA/high fantasy stuff, but I wanted them to be older.
I enjoyed this book and I’m so glad that I finally read it. I get the hype surrounding these books and these characters. Rick’s take on Greek and Roman history and mythology is so interesting and creative and he knows how to tell an engaging story. He makes you care for the characters, brings the world to life in your mind and you’re transported there. Whenever I had to unplug to do something, I had to remember that I was sailing on the Argo II with the crew, that I wasn’t fighting monsters and giants and facing my fears. I had to snap back to reality, and it was always hard.
I’m seriously considering diving into the Trials of Apollo in the near future, because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to this world – and I need more.