Friday, November 6, 2020

Book Review and Writing Lessons: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan


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 prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena is be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

Series: The Heroes of Olympus (Book 3)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint Edition (April 8, 2014)
Page Count: 672 pages

If anything I need this year is a laugh and Rick Riordan’s books are always my happy place books where I can read about amazing characters in epic quests but also giggle along the way.
The Plot: The first two books focused on two groups of heroes but now all seven have come together to stop Gaia. As expected there are a lot of plot lines in this book but they all tie in nicely for a cliffhanger conclusion! I immediately reserved the next book at my library after finishing it! The climax was epic too!

From the first page, I was laughing at the quirkiness of the character and world. I just love Riordan’s brand of humor. I was suppressing laughing out loud at work at the Chrysaor and the dolphins scene. I also liked the plot focusing around the historical mystery of the Athena Parthernos statue and that it takes Rome and Greece together to overcome this new dire threat. 

The only thing I didn’t like was the oversimplified view of the Civil War. 

The Characters:
 I love Rick Riordan’s characters. All of them are just great. I like that in this book in particular Annabeth has a really important role as a child of Athena. Her quest against Arachne as she searches for the Athena Parthenos was really cool. I missed her in the earlier books. She’s been a role model for me since I was a teen and she made me love being blond. ❤️

He had no idea where the stereotype of dumb giggly blondes came from. Ever since he’d met Annabeth at the Grand Canyon last winter, when she’d marched toward him with that Give me Percy Jackson or I’ll kill you expression, Leo thought blondes as much too smart and much too dangerous.

Coach Hedge made me laugh with his constant obsession with fighting. 😂 And Otis and Ephialtes the twin giants also made me snicker. And then there were the creepy characters like Phorcys and even Hercules.

"What are we, kids?"
Hedge snorted. "Kids are baby goats. They're cute, and they have redeeming social value. You are definitely not kids."

I thought it was really fascinating to have the gods be schizophrenic between their Greek and Roman personas. The interpretations of the two are so different like seeing Mr. D as Bacchus. I also didn’t know about the aspect that the Romans completely changed Athena from a warrior to a damsel in distress. Way to go, Romans. 😑

The Setting: 
 Roughly half of the book takes place in the US, particularly my home town of Atlanta, which made me happy. A whole plotline takes place at the Georgia Aquarium and I got such a kick out of it. Apparently it’s hiding some mythological monsters. 😉 Riordan did a great job of describing it. The other half takes place in Rome, so the first Rick Riordan book I’ve read that’s set across the pond. It’s neat to see the characters go to the land of their roots. 

Epic Things:
 I really loved all of the obscure mythological figures getting time in the limelight like Narcissus, Nemesis, and Echo. Echo was a really neat character. I love how Riordan wrote her curse manifesting in dialogue. And Buford the table is amusing haha. 

The Theme:
  Self-worth is a big one as Leo learns that he has his own important role on the team and he isn't a "seventh-wheel."

Content Cautions:
 This is a Rick Riordan book so there isn’t a lot of content at all. There’s a brief kiss, some combat, a character breaks their leg, and some people are possessed by ghosts and that’s really it.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

 Mispronouncing to Pronounce Correctly - Greek and Roman mythology both have a lot of hard to pronounce words like Phorcys, Dionysus, and Hermes, but Riordan found a clever way to show the correct pronunciation of words by having a character mispronounce a name then another character correct them like Percy pronouncing Achelous as Etch-a-Sketch. 😂  

How this can be applied to writing:
 Across genres there are a lot of tough to pronounce words and using this simple trick is an easy way to help the reader along.

Conclusion: It was a fun book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

About the Author:
Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary's Hall honored him with the school's first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre - the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children's fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today over 35 million copies of his Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 35 countries. Rick is also the author of The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, another #1 New York Times bestseller. 

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.

Other Books By This Author I've Reviewed:

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