Book Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Just finished reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan a couple days ago. Well, I’ve been waiting to read this third series of Heroes of Olympus.

The stories started with Annabeth Chase, Leo Valdes, Piper McLean, Jason Grace and middle-age satyr Coach Gleeson Hedge in Argo II which finally found Camp Jupiter. The more significant event from this chapter is how nervous Annabeth was. She never trusted Jason Grace and she always thought that this guy always had a chance to turn them into prisoners and with Argo II they were directly entering Jason Grace’s boundaries, which mean, it was almost the same like they were entering their own prisons willingly. Well, it wasn’t the thing that made Annabeth nervous because she was a girl with a thousand plans, there is always plan B to back up plan A as well as plan C to back up plan B and so on. No, it wasn’t, she was nervous because she had been searching Percy for almost 6 months with no significant result and at this time she was staring at Camp Jupiter and Percy was there.


They finally entered Camp Jupiter after a serious conversation with Terminus, the god of boundaries. And there this scene and I really love it:


The praetor Reyna straightened. With apparent reluctance, she turned toward Jason.
“Jason Grace, my former colleague…” She spoke the word colleague like it was a dangerous thing. “I welcome you home. And these, your friends—”  
Annabeth didn’t mean to, but she surged forward. Percy rushed toward her at the same time. The crowd tensed. Some reached for swords that weren’t there.  
Percy threw his arms around her. They kissed, and for a moment nothing else mattered. An asteroid could have hit the planet and wiped out all life, and Annabeth wouldn’t have cared.
Percy smelled of ocean air. His lips were salty.  
Seaweed Brain, she thought giddily.  
Percy pulled away and studied her face. “Gods, I never thought—”  
Annabeth grabbed his wrist and flipped him over her shoulder. He slammed into the stone pavement. Romans cried out. Some surged forward, but Reyna shouted, “Hold! Stand down!”
Annabeth put her knee on Percy’s chest. She pushed her forearm against his throat.  
She didn’t care what the Romans thought. A white-hot lump of anger expanded in her chest—a tumor of worry and bitterness that she’d been carrying around since last autumn.  
“If you ever leave me again,” she said, her eyes stinging, “I swear to all the gods—”  Percy had the nerve to laugh. Suddenly the lump of heated emotions melted inside Annabeth.
“Consider me warned,” Percy said. “I missed you, too.”  
Annabeth rose and helped him to his feet. She wanted to kiss him again so badly, but she managed to restrain herself.

In meanwhile, there visits were okay. This Hera’s “exchanged program’ seemed finally working. It was possible for both camps to unite to stop the rise of earth mother, Gaea, until there was a sudden attack from Argo II by Leo Valdez. The problem was Leo didn’t even aware of what he was doing but whatever the cause was both camps were in a serious war. However, the seven demigods, Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson, Leo Valdez, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Frank Zhang and his girlfriend Hazel Levesque who was happened to be Nico di Angelo’s half-sister, finally made their way to Argo II safely to start their own quest.


And as usual, the quest started with a prophecy:



Wisdom's daughter walks alone,
The Mark of Athena burns through Rome,
Twins snuff out the angels breath,
Who holds the key to endless death,
Giants bane stands gold and pale,
Won through pain from a woven jail.

The prophecy brought them to Utah to meet Nemesis, the goddess of revenge who appeared to be a creepy lady cracking fortune cookies in the middle of nowhere and she gave Leo one cookie and said that he would always be able to crack the cookie whenever he needed an answer, an answer with price, certainly, which Leo didn’t know yet what it was. And she also told Hazel that she only had less than 6 days to save his half-brother, Nico, who also had significant role in their quest, without him was impossible for them to find the Doors of Death. And then they continued their journey to Kansas to meet Bacchus, a Roman version of Dionysus or Mr. D in Greek to make a certain deal which is refused by the god. In Atlanta they met Phorcys, the Gaea’s son and his sister Keto. In Atlanta they found important information about where they should go next. So, from Atlanta they headed directly to Charlestone which according to Phorcys is where they could find the map that probably not only able to lead them to the Mark of Athena but also to something that might heal the rift between Romans and Greeks.


When it comes to the Mark of Athena and then the biggest burden will be on Annabeth’s shoulders because based on the history, whatever the Mark of Athena will lead to was either healing the rift or causing the biggest war ever between Romans and Greeks because Romans had insulted Athena and turned her to be Minerva, something that each of Athena’s son and daughter would never forgive.


In Charlestone Jason, Frank and Leo left for the museum while Annabeth, Hazel and Piper had a tea with Aphrodite or Venus in Romans; it was totally high quality tea time with Aphrodite because she told Annabeth where she could find the map; which is in Fort Sumter. Well, it wasn’t an easy journey to Fort Sumter even when she had found the map because some Romans just arrived and Annabeth should use her diplomacy ability to Reyna, she promised if Reyna let her go and found the Mark of Athena, she would be able to fix whatever grudges between their camps and in return, Reyna promised to slow Octavian down to march to Camp Half-Blood.


While the others are busy, Percy had chance to talk to Nereid in Charlestone Harbor that seeking help from Chiron’s brother was the best idea in this matter. So, Argo II headed to whatever longitude and latitude given by the Nereid. On the way they should face one of Keto’s children because though she was trapped in Atlanta, she would always be able to send her children to attack them and here it was Shrimpzilla, Leo took an extreme decision by throwing the Greek fire to the Shrimpzilla but sent him along with Hazel and Frank to the deep of the ocean. Luckily, Chiron’s brothers were really exist, Bythos and Aphros, like Chiron they were also training a kind of underwater camp.


After the underwater camp story brought by Leo, Frank and Hazel that made Percy upset because they didn’t want to meet him, Argo II headed to Mediterranean and left only twenty four hours to reach Rome to save Nico. Still, there is Mark of Athena to trace too. Annabeth insisted that she would go alone to follow the Mark of Athena that would lead her to The Athena Parthenos  which according to Romans’ history once was hid to break Greeks’ spirit so Athena was no longer goddess of military and turned her to be Minerva, a tamer goddess.


In Mediterranean or Mare Nostrum the quest would be ten times more dangerous because they would enter ancient land and their first dangerous test to past was Hercules; the most powerful demigod all the time. Since Hercules assigned to guard the doors to the ancient land, so only by facing him they could get permission to cross Mediterranean. Jason who appeared to be his half-brother and Piper who was really good with words were assigned to have words with Hercules. The conversation went good initially but once Hercules knew that Hera sent them to this quest he became mad and ordered them an extra quest to break Achelous’ other horn and brought it to him before sundown. Well, they could break and get the horn but instead gave it to Hercules who in the end appeared to be a big jerk, Piper used the horn to bury Hercules in tons of pineapple and asked Leo to make their escape.


Not far from Italian coast they are stopped by the golden boy who had Greek blade like Riptide but made from gold. Unsurprisingly this golden boy was Percy’s half-brother; Poseidon and Medusa’s son, Chrysaor. He invaded Argo II with his well-trained warriors in dolphin shape, because some millennia ago, they had kidnapped the wrong person and cursed to be dolphins and they only feared of someone; he is Bacchus or Mr. D. Well, this time, Percy took credit by saving them from Chrysaor using one of his stupid ideas, as usual, wielding their fear of Mr. D. Once all the invaders left, they invaded back Chrysaor’s ship which was full of gold, diamonds and rubies and used the ship as a tribute for Mr. D, with hope, he would agree to help them whenever they need to fight monsters who only able to be killed if demigod and god were working together.


From there, they directly headed to Rome, so Annabeth could start searching The Athena Parthenos and Hazel could find Nico and save him. In Tiber River, Annabeth and Percy met Tiberinus, god of Tiber River and Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus. They would guard Annabeth to where she should start searching the Mark of Athena and they were split. Annabeth started her quest alone and probably would face her biggest fear and Percy get back to Argo II to meet Jason and Piper while Leo, Hazel and Frank were looking for Nico. In the process of saving his friend, finally Leo cracked the fortune cookie given by Nemesis.


By using Piper’s Katoptris blade, Percy, Jason and Piper were on their quest to find Nico as well because they could not just depend on Hazel, Frank and Leo because according to what they saw from Piper’s blade, they were too late. So they decided to look for Nico and left Coach Hedge guarding the ship. While, Hazel, Frank and Leo were decoyed by Nico’s sword that was parted from him, Percy, Piper and Jason were directly finding Nico though at the same time also entering the trap designed by the twin giants, Ephialtes and Otis. However, lucky for them tribute Percy made back in the Mediterranean seemed catch the wine dude, Mr. D or Bacchus’ attention and with a little help from the wine god, they could make the twin giants crumbled into ashes.


It seemed Leo, Hazel and Frank could make their way back to Argo II and they arrived just in time to rescue Percy, Jason, Piper and Nico and here was left one problem, Annabeth. According to Bacchus, they could find Annabeth somewhere in Emmanuel Building. While they were on their way rescuing her, Annabeth had found the statue which stand in shoddy room which would send them all rightly to Tartarus if the floor was broken  and she also forced to face her biggest fear and she reached her terror limit; it was Arache, a half-spider monster. However, as usual, even in the edge of her terror limit, Annabeth’s brain never exhausted to find an escape. Inspired by Frank’s Chinese handcuff she tricked Arache by asking her to create what so-called to be one of the best masterpieces ever made which in the end appeared to be a trap for Arache. However, Arache was not alone, when she was about to send her children to kill Annabeth and Annabeth herself finally reached her limit and gave up, from above, Agro II appeared to rescue her, it seemed Argo II caused rain cars because they blundered against parking lot in Emmanuel Building and caused a red Fiat 500 to slam toward Arache and send her directly to Tartarus. And here comes another Annabeth – Percy’s romantic moment:


Annabeth was dimly aware of the Argo II hovering to a stop about forty feet from the floor. It lowered a rope ladder, but Annabeth stood in a daze, staring into the darkness. Then suddenly Percy was next to her, lacing his fingers in hers.  
He turned her gently away from the pit and wrapped his arms around her. She buried her face in his chest and broke down in tears.  
“It’s okay,” he said. “We’re together.”  
He didn’t say you’re okay, or we’re alive. After all they’d been through over the last year, he knew the most important thing was that they were together. She loved him for saying that.

Together they rescued the statue to Argo II, unfortunately, Arache’s spider silk tangled to Annabeth feet which left the only option, cut the spider silk and she would fall to the Tartarus, however this time, she would not fall alone, Percy was with her. Percy and Nico made a certain deal, Nico would bring their friends to the House of Hades in Epirus where they could find one of the Doors of Death while Percy and Annabeth would find the other one, which according to Nico, was in Tartarus.


All things that just happened left Leo in a shock. He had cracked the fortune cookie for an answer with price and he just found what the price was; losing Annabeth and Percy.


See you next Autumn 2013 in Epirus with the House of Hades.


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Eka Arifin
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