Heroes of Olympus || The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Friday, 4 August 2017

When I started reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians at the end of March, I had no idea that the series had grown to span another series called, 'Heroes of Olympus'. I knew that the original series was more than one book because of the movies that were subsequently spawned; two having been made. I have such an obsession with Greek Mythology that it was a no-brainer that I had to picked up the entire Olympians series and then the following Heroes of Olympus series.

When I found out the titles involved in the Olympus series I was most excited for was 'The Mark of Athena', the third book in the series. Athena is my favourite out of all of the Olympian gods. I love the story surrounding her birth, the naming of Athens, how she created Medusa and basically everything about her. So, The Mark of Athena was a highly anticipated read for me. 

When you think of Athena, you instantly think of Athens, right? Therefore, you would assume that this book with her name in the title would be set in Athens or a new version of Athens like New Rome aka Camp Jupiter in The Son of Neptune. Right?

Imagine my surprise when a good chunk of The Mark of Athena was set in Rome. Italy. Not Greece. Italy. That threw me off somewhat.

I've been to Rome and Athens. I was very excited to read that the characters were walking around places that I visited when I was in Rome. It really helped me visualise what was happening because Rome is such a unique place. It has narrow side streets where you would never expect them, the traffic is ridiculous and there are ruins everywhere. You throw a stone and you'll more than likely strike a ruin. They are everywhere. It would easy to get lost in the labyrinthian Rome that my imagination would concoct but with my own knowledge of Rome, it helped to focus my mind. 

What I loved most about this book in the series is that I got to learn an awful lot more about Annabeth and Athena and their relationship, however frayed due to Athena's war between her two personae; Athena and Minerva. I felt a lot of sympathy for Athena because she has been the only Olympian god, so far, that has found it difficult to navigate between her Greek and Roman personalities. Mostly because Athena and Minerva are so different that she finds it difficult to marry the two and it feels like personality overload. Athena is such a powerful and strong personality in Greek Mythology whereas Minerva has been stripped of some of Athena's more powerful attributes and downgraded somewhat. I can imagine it being difficult for Athena to go from such a strong character to an essentially weaker one.

I wanted Annabeth to succeed at her quest to follow the Mark of Athena because I wanted it to help Athena. Of course, I wanted a successful quest to help unite the Greek and Roman sides too.

I loved that Annabeth got to face such unique tasks in order to follow the mark. She faced her greatest fears and she showed a lot of pure determination and true grit. Annabeth shows why she's my favourite character. I will admit that I am biased towards Annabeth because she is a daughter of Athena. I also will admit, that when I watched the movies I was wondering how Athena had children because she's a maiden goddess. That thought was quickly answered in the first book series and I love that this discrepancy is mirrored in the Roman demigods' minds when they find out that 'Minerva' has children. Spoiler alert - it has to do with Athena's birth. I wonder if Minerva was born the same way (Roman mythology isn't my forte). I really want them to find this out but Annabeth didn't feel like furnishing them with that bit of information. TELL THEM GIRL AND SHUT THEM UP. #TeamHalfBlood

I adore Rick Riordan's writing. I don't know what it is about his writing that makes me devour his books in a matter of days. I love that his writing is so informal yet undeniably clever. The amount of cultural references that I recognise are bountiful. I love when they pop up because they cement it in the modern day and also serve to remind me of my age.

Also his characters. I love his characters. I adore how smart they are without being egotistical about it. Most of them, anyway. I love how proud they are of their demigod status yet recognise the flaws in their godly parent. Also, they are snarky as hell and I love when they get snarky.

The ending of The Mark of Athena was something that I was not expecting at all. When I read that last ten pages or so, I literally blocked out everything else around me and simply focused on the words on the page. An epic read. I didn't give it 5 stars, however and my reasoning is that the action sequences, specifically the ones in Rome, overwhelmed me. Slightly. That dampened my enjoyment somewhat as I did get lost to the action.

Nevertheless, I loved The Mark of Athena. I love Rick Riordan's books and I cannot wait to continue on with the series and read The House of Hades which will be my August Rick Riordan Read. I pretty much read a Rick Riordan book every month. I don't want to finish them and then have nothing to read for months on end. 

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