Monday, August 19, 2013

The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan

Annabeth, Jason, Piper, and Leo have arrived at Camp Jupiter in the Argo II. The Roman demigods, newly victorious after their battle against the giants, are wary of the Greek demigods, and for good reason. Misunderstandings between the two groups have led to battles and even wars in the past. Percy, Hazel, and Leo must try to focus the Romans on their common enemy: Gaea and the giants, before strife can erupt against the Greeks. And, as usual, there's a terrible prophecy to contend with:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call.
To storm or fire, the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

But Annabeth has a prophecy of her own to worry about, one that may tear the two camps apart.

The Mark of Athena opens as our seven favourite demigods come together for the first time. There are the two leaders, Percy and Jason; the troubled warriors, Hazel, Frank, and Leo; and the love interests, Annabeth and Piper. The Greeks' arrival in an armed warship creates some immediate tension. If you're an idealist, you might expect the Greeks to win the Romans' respect, and for the seven demigods to set out on their quest with the backing of both camps. If you're cynical (or know anything about three act structure), you might expect everything to go wrong and thereby create some drama to launch the plot. The cynics have this one.

For those who have read Rick Riordan's first demigods series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus series comes with a change in point of view. While PJatO was written in first person, from the POV of Percy, THoO is written in limited omniscient. For the first two books of the series, this didn't present a problem; each book had a main protagonist and two secondary characters to tell the story. But in The Mark of Athena, there's a much larger cast: two protagonists, four secondary characters, and Annabeth. Luckily, while readers get to see through each character's eyes at least once, the focus is on three main POVs: Annabeth, Percy, and Leo. After so many male protagonists, it was refreshing to experience a female protagonist, especially Annabeth, who has been a voiceless secondary character 'til now.

To be frank, I was expecting more drama from this book. The prophecy about Annabeth led me to anticipate some hardcore betrayal or a pitched battle between the two camps. Nope. Or at least, not really. That being said, it was a quick, pleasing read. The Heroes of Olympus will be a pentalogy, which makes The Mark of Athena the middle child of the series, a label that works quite admirably in characterizing how this book relates to the first two books, and will probably relate to the last two.

View my suggested books by Rick Riordan

No comments:

Post a Comment