The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Summary: 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.511apj6b2bkl-_sx326_bo1204203200_

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 Brian 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. . . .

 

Review: I keep loving each book in this series more than the last. The adventure gets a little bit crazier and so much happens (not surprising since it’s almost 600 pages), but I never felt like I was being overloaded with information. Since this book follows seven demigods on the quest, I was worried too many main characters would make things confusing but it’s only told from four of their points of view so I was able to follow all the characters without feeling like too many voices were talking to me at once. I’ll just go into detail about the four whose point of views we see though I talk about a couple of the other characters in my review of The Son of Neptune.
As always, Percy is my favorite. I’m so so happy he and Annabeth were reunited at the beginning of this book because their separation during the first two books was absolutely awful. I really love their relationship. While they have a lot in common, in many ways they’re opposites and I couldn’t help thinking throughout the book how much they complement each other.
Annabeth is obviously my other favorite. As a daughter of Athena she’s extremely smart but she’s also tough and stubborn. She uses confidence to mask her doubts and fears and I really liked watching her struggle with that while she tried to be a good leader. During this book she had to undertake a quest all by herself and I loved seeing how resourceful and brave she can really be.
I just feel so bad for Leo. His mother died, his other family refused to take him in and now he’s finally found a home and friends but nothing seems to go right for him and it’s rarely his fault. At one point he does something terrible while possessed and even though he had no control and his friends don’t blame him, he still feels like the consequences of it fall on his shoulders. It doesn’t help that, because the other six demigods have grouped into couples, Leo’s usually just a seventh wheel. He’s an amazing character and I really hope things go better for him in the next books.
I’m never entirely sure how I feel about Piper. I seem to alternate between being annoyed and impressed by her. She’s a daughter of Aphrodite which might make you think she’d be really superficial but she actively tries to avoid the things that people expect from Aphrodite’s children. Her only demigod power is charmspeak; she can convince people to believe or do things just by speaking to them. Unfortunately it doesn’t tend to work on more powerful monsters so in most fights she’s not very helpful. However she’s smart and compassionate so she tends to be more of an asset outside of battles. I hope to see her grow more during the rest of the series.
Overall this was an amazing book. It ended on an awful cliffhanger so I can’t wait to start the next book and see what happens. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, fantasy, or mythology. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Summary: Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth. 51zk6kgt8dl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams. 

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart. 

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

 

Review: I absolutely loved the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Like Riordan’s other books, it’s a really fun story of demigods going on a quest from the gods. They face tests of intellect and strength, they battle monsters, and mostly just fight for their lives.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first. (You can read my review of The Lost Hero here.) I think most of that is because Percy came back in this one and he’s always been my favorite. He’s strong, funny, stubborn, loyal, kind, and a little goofy sometimes. Since his memory was taken away, we see him struggling for the first half of the book as he tries to remember not only his past but who he is. I really enjoyed seeing him push past it as he continued to try to do the right thing despite everything he was going through. I don’t think he will ever stop being my favorite character.
I also adore Frank. He’s cute and clumsy and awkward. He never feels like he’s good enough and, other than his skills with archery (which are kind of looked down upon by most of the other characters), he doesn’t think he has any talents. I loved watching him come into his own as he realizes he CAN do amazing things as long as he believes in himself.
Hazel was the only one of the three I didn’t love entirely. I definitely didn’t hate her and started to like her more by the end of the story but found her a little annoying during the beginning. It just felt like she kept throwing herself a pity party; granted she had fairly legitimate reasons for it and she’s only thirteen years old so I can’t expect her to be mature about everything but I couldn’t help being a little irritated when the story was in her POV.
I really enjoyed the plot throughout the book. A lot of times in fantasy, even with the help of magical beings and objects, the progression of the story can be a little awkward. I know it’s something a lot of readers have trouble with since it can be hard to find a balance between the fantasy aspects of the story and still be realistic enough for you to immerse yourself in it. I felt that this story fell nicely between the two; e.g. they had help from a magic horse that can run at supersonic speeds but it still took them time to travel long distances.
Overall this was an amazing book that had a little bit of everything (including two really excellent battles). I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA, mythology, fantasy, or action. As always, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Summary: Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?91vcdxkm3dl

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

Review: I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians (written “PJO” for the rest of the post) a few years ago and immediately loved them so much I had to get the Heroes of Olympus series. I read the first three books but around the time I was starting the fourth, I moved across the country and it somehow got lost in the chaos. I’ve finally replaced it but since it’s been so long I’ll be rereading and reviewing the entire series.
I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first for many different reasons. First, mythology is a topic that’s always interested me and I’ve always loved seeing how different authors turn those myths into fiction. I instantly loved Riordan’s take on Greek mythology and am really excited that this series includes some Roman mythology as well. If you don’t know, Roman mythology came directly from Greek so a lot of it is very similar but they’re still considered two entirely separate pantheons. In this book I got to see all of those similarities and differences and am excited for more of it in the next books.
Another of my favorite aspects of this book is the characters. First, I was really happy I got to see some of the old characters from the PJO series though I am very sad Percy wasn’t in it. Second, I just really love the characters Riordan creates. They’re flawed and relatable but also amazing and badass. I feel like they’re a better portrayal of their ages than many other YA books. The characters are around 15-16 in this book and while they have moments of maturity (being heroes and fighting monsters makes you grow up fast) you never forget that they’re still children. It’s one of the first things I loved about PJO as well. The children acted like children. They worry about silly things, they make gross jokes, their priorities are sometimes skewed, they’re impulsive. Since they’re a few years older in this book there’s certainly a bit more maturity but they’re still just kids.
The plot was really fun. There’s a lot of action and suspense, even a little romance, but mostly it was just fun to read. Our main characters are demigods going on a quest so there’s all sorts of magic and monsters. Crazy things happen to them constantly so if you’re looking for something realistic you should probably look somewhere else.
One of my favorite things about the way Riordan writes is the little clues he gives us. Either through prophecies and visions, or sometimes just things a character sees; and you’ll think, “oh, yeah! That means this” and other times you have no idea what it means. Usually it turns out to be a little different than you originally thought but there’s always this moment where something just clicks and you realize that scene earlier in the books had a hidden meaning.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to start the next. I’d recommend this to anyone who like YA, fantasy, or mythology. I suggest reading PJO first but you likely wouldn’t be too confused if you skipped it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I just finished a book, so I’m not technically reading anything. But I’ll consider that as what I’m currently reading. I just finished reading The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige. So look for my review shortly. I’ll be writing it after I finish this post.

Antonia- Technically I’m in the middle of like five books. But right at this moment I’m reading The Witness by Nora Roberts. About once a year I go back and reread this book because while I always love every one of her books, this one is by far my favorite.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- Yesterday I finished reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. You’ll find my review among my recent posts. It was a wonderful book and I’m excited to finish the series.

Antonia- The last book I read was The Obsession by Nora Roberts. This is her newest books and since she’s one of my auto-buy authors, I’d had this own pre-ordered.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Amanda- Well, I bought Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige today because I knew I would finish The Wicked Will Rise soon and I need to find out what happens. There was no way I was going to not have the next book when I finished the second.

Antonia- Next I’ll probably read one of the several books I’m currently in the middle of: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima, Soundless by Richelle Mead, or The House of Hades by Rick Riordan.

What are your answers to these questions?

Happy Wednesday readers!