Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena

Posted December 11, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena


Rick Riordan

fantasy that was published by Disney-Hyperion on October 2, 2012 and has 586 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, The Red Pyramid, The Lost Hero, Cold Springs, The Throne of Fire, The Son of Neptune, The Serpent's Shadow, House of Hades, The Blood of Olympus, The Hidden Oracle, The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, The Ship of the Dead

Third in the Heroes of Olympus urban fantasy series for young adults blending the Greek (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and Roman demigods.

In 2012, The Mark of Athena won the Goodreads Choice for Best Middle Grade & Children’s.

My Take

This was good! Yeah, I had a few issues which is why it didn’t get a “5”, but definitely well worth reading. I do love how Riordan gives Greek and Roman myths and gods and goddesses a contemporary twist, making it easier for today’s kids to relate. The individual myths he uses to create the kids’ adventures make me want to explore the original myths to compare and get more information.

I’d like to think it would inspire your kids as well. It’s certainly better than Disney’s turnabouts! The puzzling prophecy is easy to follow along, stretching young minds. Then there are all the clever workarounds the team of seven come up with as they escape trap after trap. Okay, some are a bit dorky, but they’re still clever!

In this particular tale, the focus is on uniting the Greek and Roman demigods. Thousands of years ago, the Romans made off with a highly valued artifact of Athena’s and, ever since, it’s been war as far as the progeny of Athena are concerned.

Very tricky! I love how Riordan used Echo’s curse to communicate with Leo and Hazel. YES! We finally learn the connection between Hazel and Sammy/Leo Valdez! Wait’ll you read how Piper makes use of the original horn of plenty! Be danged useful for Super Bowl Sunday!

Crack me up! Leo figures he may have to tag the Athena Parthenos statue with a red flag; Annabeth shudders as she imagines that flag saying “Wide Load”.

The Story

Hera has forcibly exchanged Jason, a Roman praetor, with Percy Jackson, a Greek demigod, with the intention of forging an alliance between the rival Roman and Greek camps. It’s only with their combined strength that the world has a chance of defeating Gaea.

Only Gaea’s eidolons have a different tactic in mind as they coerce a confrontation between the two, forcing the Argo II to flee. It’s exactly what Octavian has been waiting for, and he jumps at his chance to attack.

They’ll be safe once they get over the Atlantic Ocean. Well, from the Romans… They’ll still have to run the gamut of sea creatures, and guardian gods and demigods before they reach Rome where things will really heat up.

The Characters

Annabeth Chase is of Athena’s line, wisdom. She’s leading this Greek expedition on the Argo II, hoping to win an alliance with the Roman demigods. And looking forward to reconnecting with Percy Jackson, a dyslexic son of Poseidon. Blackjack is the black pegasus who aids Percy. Tyson is a Cyclops and Percy’s half-brother; Mrs. O’Leary is Percy’s hellhound. Ella is a harpy they rescued in Son of Neptune.

As a son of Hephaestus, Leo Valdez loves to invent, and he’s built the Argo II, a Greek trireme and uses what remains of his dragon friend Festus as the interface. Piper is a daughter of Aphrodite and her power is charmspeaking. She and Jason Grace, a Roman praetor and son of Jupiter, are in love. Jason occasionally rides Tempest, when he can summon the storm spirit. Hera had forcibly exchanged Jason and Percy as part of her “stop Gaea” campaign.

Coach Gleeson Hedge is a satyr and their “war-crazed chaperone”. He’s a regular couch potato until he gets the chance to fire cannon and flail weapons. He’s a dangerous crackup you’ll enjoy. Chiron, a centaur, is the current Camp Half-Blood director.

The Romans
Reyna is the praetor, the daughter of the Roman war goddess Bellona, and unlucky in love. Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque are Percy’s closest friends at Camp Jupiter. Frank is a shapeshifter while Hazel, who died in the 1940s and only recently came back to life, is a daughter of Pluto. She can find any metal, and she rides Arion. Octavian is the jerky augur who rips the entrails from stuffed teddy bears. Terminus is a very tetchy statue imbued with the power to protect the boundaries of Camp Jupiter. Nico di Angelo is Hazel’s brother, a son of Pluto, and he’s imprisoned in Rome. And the clock is ticking.

Bacchus is the Roman wine god (Dionysus is the Greek half), and the crew will need his help to defeat the giants. Bythos and Aphros are two of the ichthyocentaurs, fish centaurs, who interrogate Leo, Frank, and Hazel. I just loved Aphros’ technique! Echo, Narcissus, Hercules, the old river god Achelous, and, Chrysaor is Percy’s half-brother (Medusa was his mom) who has turned pirate.

Gaea is the earth mother, and she’s waking, wanting to take over the world with her monsters. Nemesis is the same goddess in both Roman and Greek pantheons and not really someone you want to encounter. Ephialtes and Otis are twin giants whom Bacchus defeated once before. Otis will crack you up with his balletic antics. Phorcys is Gaea’s disgruntled son whom Bacchus suggests they seek out. Arachne is a weaver cursed by Athena.

Demigods are the offspring of a union between a god and a human. Camp Jupiter is the Roman site, more of a city really, where whole families live, work, and play. Camp Half-Blood is the Greek version — think summer camp, but only accepts demigods who have come into their powers. Eidolons are spirits from the Underworld who possess people. Tarturus is a hell dimension.

The Cover and Title

The cover is sizzling with oranges and yellows, sparked by shades of black and lightning, vivid with huge red owl eyes filling the sky, and Percy riding Blackjack against Jason riding Tempest as they fly forth to attack each other.

The title is Annabeth’s bane and she will flourish or perish as she seeks The Mark of Athena.