Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan

I've been waiting for this book for a year. A WHOLE FREAKING YEAR. And I finished it today. I don't know if any of you guys have ever waited for a book for so long (all you Harry Potter lovers know what I mean), but the expectations get high. By October 2nd, I was expecting Rick Riordan to come out with the best book in the series, and that's exactly what he did. This was the darkest, twistiest book in the Heroes of Olympus series, but it was also the best. And that's saying something. For all of you who don't know this, this series if basically my reason for existing, and I'm desperately in love with Annabeth Chase, even more so after this book.

We have seven main characters in this book. Seven. For an author to keep them all equally important and interesting is no mean feat. Rick Riordan is so incredibly epic because he's the only author (that I know of) to have done this successfully. I love every single one of them, even the new guys, which is hard, because Percy and Annabeth are my favorite literary couple of all time. I'm not sure you understand how amazing this is. UNCLE RICK IS AWESOME. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with him, though, because I have to wait another YEAR for the House of Hades *sobs uncontrollably*. In classic Uncle Rick style, he's ended the book in the most heart-wrenching way possible. Emotions.

So anyway, before I dazzle all of you with my incredible wit as I review the book, I'd better look over what it's about. Ready? Set? Boom, here goes the synopsis (goodreads):

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 masthead, 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 demand: 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.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophesy remains a mystery. . . . With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

As I said, this is the best book in the series. You can disagree, of course, everyone has a right to their opinion, but just know that you're wrong. Percabeth is reunited, your argument is invalid. It may seem sappy and not manly at all, but it really was great to see them together again. Oh, and *SPOILER ALERT* when they fall into Tartarus together, holding hands, I have to say I teared up a little (in a very manly way, of course).

My favorite character
in the book is Leo Valdez by a long way. I mean, he's hilarious and cool and awesome. That Team Leo thing he does with Narcissus had me cracking up! The best part about him, though, is the fact that he's a multi-dimensional character, because beneath that shield of pure, unadulterated awesome, we know he's pretty insecure, being the "seventh wheel" and stuff. The poor guy gets messed around big-time with the eidolons and Nemesis and whatnot, and I really hope he catches a break in the next book.

Annabeth's awesomeness increases to the power of a bajillion in this book. We knew she was smart and brave from before, but we see to what extent she really is smart and brave in her solo quest. Oh, before I forget, I wanted to say how cool I found all those mini-quests the groups went on, because we got to know the characters a lot better and the relationships they have are better explored. The relationship between Percy and Jason and Frank and Leo is basically the same: their rivalry turns into a grudging bromance in the end, and all is well. Apart from the fact that Percy and Annabeth are in TARTARUS *wails*.

Right, back to Annabeth. I'm in love. That's pretty much it. She's officially knocked Izzy Lightwood off the number one spot on my fictional crush list. She's ahead of Hermione Granger. HERMIONE. FREAKING. GRANGER. Stop to think about it. Guys, you understand me.

The plot is incredible, the writing flows beautifully, and it just works. You know those books where everything just seem to click together? This is one of them. I just can't find anything wrong with it. It's quite possibly my favorite read of the year, and now I resume my seemingly constant, painful wait for the next Riordan book. *sigh* 

So, yeah, in case you didn't notice, I love this book. If you haven't started the series yet, don't. If you see it in a bookstore run far, far away. It's just too painful. Too many emotions and too much awesome for a normal mortal. Don't say I didn't warn you. I'm off to wallow in self pity and wonder what happened now. 

Happy reading,


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