The Mark of Athena is the third installment in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, and once again, Mr. Riordan proves to be a competent, masterful storyteller. When the book came out last October, I deliberately held off on reading it not because I feared it would be bad but because I knew it’d be awesome – and that I’d have to wait a year for the next one. This was definitely a good call. I’ve spent the past few weeks re-reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lost Hero, and Son of Neptune. By the time I got to Athena, I was in full fan-girl mode, complete with squeeing.
And then I finished the book.
The seven demigods – Percy, Annabeth, Frank, Hazel, Leo, Jason, and Piper – are brought together at the beginning of the book and set off on their quest to close the Doors of Death and battle the giants who want to awaken Gaea. But Annabeth has also been given a special task. Her mother, the goddess Athena, wants Annabeth to follow the mark and avenge her. The group’s journey takes them to Rome. In addition to Annabeth, Percy, Leo and Piper also narrate.
By switching narrators – a trend he started in The Lost Hero – Riordan took a bold risk. His readers are coming into this series as Percy fans. Now suddenly, there are six other demigods who each have a specific role to play in the coming war. They are equally important and necessary. And his bold move pays off big time. Riordan has created new characters that add a richness and depth to the world he has created. Each demigod has a backstory that has shaped them for this moment in time when they will rise to defend Olympus. And while it may be true that I will never love any demigod more than Percy, there is a certain son of Mars who has found a special place in my heart. And I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next.
Start the series for Percy’s sake. Fall in love with new characters. Save Olympus once again. You won’t regret it.