15
Oct
12

Thoughts on a Book: The Mark of Athena

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy – after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera – it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket, Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving command: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge Me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find – and close – the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s not attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader – but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mask of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare…

AUTHOR: RICK RIORDAN

Rick Riordan is the author of the New York Times #1 best-selling The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune, the first two book sin his Heroes of Olympus series. He also penned the New York Times #1 best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The first three books in his Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology, The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire, and The Serpent’s Shadow, were New York Times best sellers as well. Rick lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons. To learn more about him, visit his Web site at http://www.rickriordan.com.

  1. Riordan is one author I follow not because he is a profound writer but because he comes up with audience-pleasing stories all the time. He reminds me so much of Clive Cussler – the granddad of action-and-adventure literature. Their stories are incredible bordering the ridiculous but never fail to fulfill the needs of their faithful fans. In the third installment of The Heroes of Olympus series, Riordan fulfilled our needs with non-stop Greco-Roman action starring our favorite demigods. The last book, The Son of Neptune, Percy got in touch with his Roman side. It’s all clever, but we know the spawn of Poseidon is better-off besides his girlfriend. So Mr. Riordan, please accept our appreciation for dedicating the bigger chunk of this five-hundred plus page book to Percibeth. I took the freedom of creating a chic portmanteau for them.
  2. The reintroduction of the ancient deities and their all-too human tales to a new generation of kids is the worthiest contribution of Riordan to their education. (So Poseidon does not sport loud floral shirts and sunglasses but his choice of modern outfits makes sense because a sea god spends some time on a beach.) In his previous works, we learn a lot about the big three: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Some popular minor characters also popped in such as Medusa and Daedalus. However, I was hoping Riordan will put the spotlight on the best goddess. I mean, the Greeks love her, so much so their nation’s capital is named in her honor. Zeus fathered a number of gods and demigods but no one can claim more to be his “father’s daughter” than the goddess of war and wisdom. She sprang out of his head and has the sole licence to heave his frightening aegis – that has to mean something. The title alone excited me so much and the scorching red owl  cover – a representation of  her sacred animal – add to the enthusiasm. The entire book did not disappoint: readers learned bout her diminished stature during the course of the Roman Empire, encountered one of her nemesis and realized her full command through her daughter.
  3. One of the limiting factors of a children’s book is that an author cannot use adult words to deliver adult ideas. But if a novelist can still impart his thoughts to both the children and their parents in simple terms, then he is one smart dude. Riordan is one smart dude. One of the running themes in The Heroes of Olympus series is that the gods and goddesses are suffering from some sort of schizophrenia because of their failure to reconcile their Hellenic and Roman natures. But some deities are not susceptible to this condition because they rule universal thoughts and emotions. Riordan selected Aphrodite and Nemesis as the non-schizo goddesses, with the explanation that  love and revenge remain constant despite the crumbling of civilizations and passage of time. It is a stable force humans have to contend with all through their lives.
  4. Members of TEAM PERCY or TEAM JASON need not be troubled of the ominous cover depicting an impressive aerial battle between the demigods. No Snape-killed-Dumbledore stuff in here. Plus there is another hero who stole a considerable amount of attention from them. Raise the banner: TEAM LEO.
  5. The next book is entitled The House of Hades so expect fans to unfurl an obsidian-black banner of TEAM NICO. His alluring cool as cucumber (or cold as dead) attitude and unaffected matter-of-fact assessments are well-demonstrated in the last pages of the latest installment. The last sentence paints a clear picture of personal allegiance so it merits elucidation. Three reasons for joining TEAM NICO: 1) he rocks the all-black attire 2) he is the son of the ruler of the dead and all the precious stones underneath and 3) he can unleash hell.

RATING: B+

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