There are a lot of things about being a new mom that you have to adjust to. I expected the sleepless nights, the bone throbbing exhaustion, the endless amount of diapers and bottles – I even knew that my social life would change and I needed to embrace it. What I hadn’t expected was something I’ve now found I have taken for granted before having a baby – reading. That’s right, the simple act of reading. I could fly through a novel in a day or two back in the old days. But now it has taken me almost two weeks to read a novel that I have been BURNING to read – The Mark of Athena. It wasn’t until I managed to get my kid into a milk coma and kept the house silent that I was able to finally finish this book on Friday (October 26th).
Let me start by saying the sleep deprivation and constant gurgling needs of a two month old might skew this review a little bit – but I’m going to try my best. We have SEVEN main characters now, and I mean main characters not supporting cast. Each one is developed and explored throughout the novel and we see them grow from whom we knew them as in the first two books (and first series for Annabeth and Percy). This tale in the series is told through the POV of Annabeth, Leo, Piper and Percy. Knowing that Annabeth is a daughter of Athena you pretty much assume she’s going to be the leader of this quest but you’d be wrong.
Perhaps it was the balancing act of seven main characters, perhaps it’s because this is an obvious transitional book for the next in the series, perhaps it was because my son would only let me read this book as I carried him around in a baby bjorn – but it felt oddly disjointed this time. The use of the multiple narrators has been amazing in the past two books but this time, with so many missions and so many characters, I kept getting a little confused and at times even felt a little slighted at not getting to read about EVERY mission and battle. Granted – we see all the big, important ones, but I was getting used to staying with the whole group throughout the whole novel, not so much in Mark of Athena.
Baby Bjorn – now imagine holding a book in one hand and walking around your house while reading aloud – MOTHERHOOD!!
I’m not saying it was bad – on the contrary I had several moments of silent squeals of joy (baby attached to me, remember), but it felt like it was on the verge of chaos the entire novel. Maybe that was the point. Seven powerful demigods, from both camps, working together against the forces of evil seems like the edge of chaos to me. Yet, it was all well maintained and ended up giving the novel this kind of nervous energy that you know all the main characters had.
I’m not going to reveal any spoilers because I am a huge fan of Rick Riordan as well as Percy and company. But I will tell you this…the most epic love story of all time is being written in these novels and I think it’s a shame that people don’t know about that. Twilight, Harry Potter, Jane Austin, hell even Danielle Steel have nothing compared to Percy and Annabeth. I’m not just saying this because I’m a fan – I’m an admitted Harry Potter addict and I still feel this way. I honestly can’t even tell you half the awesome that happens between them in this novel because most of the examples would be full of spoilers. But I will give you this,
“All around the Romans, Charleston Harbor erupted like a Las Vegas fountain putting on a show. When the wall of seawater subsided, the three Romans were in the bay, spluttering and frantically trying to stay afloat in their armor. Percy stood on the dock, holding Annabeth’s dagger.
‘You dropped this,’ he said, totally poker-faced.
Annabeth threw her arms around him. ‘I love you!’” (Mark of Athena, page 241)
I am still in awe of how this book ended and I groaned when I realized how long I was going to have to wait for the pick-up of the cliffhanger we were left with. All in all it’s still an amazing book even if my sleep-deprived mind might have found it disjointed. As always, Percy Jackson – the hero to end all heroes – receives my highest recommendation. Really people – you’ve GOT to read these books!
Rating: 5 Stars
Reasoning: Action packed missions, humor and angst, fantastic use of Greek and Roman myths with current ideals and the love story between Annabeth and Percy is completely swoon worthy!
Recommended: Everyone and Anyone!