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 Half-blood, 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—Greece itself—to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery…
I’ll be honest, the thing I was most looking forward to about this book was reading from Annabeth’s point of view. Annabeth has been my favorite character since the first book of the first series, and finally getting to read about her was a real treat, even if it did involve several rather frightening spider sequences.
Overall, Mark of Athena really continued where Son of Neptune left off. It continued to explore deeper themes of sacrifice and unfairness. But I think what really sets Mark of Athena apart from other young adult fantasy books was that it began to explore that good and evil might not be black and white. Several monsters are presented in a light of pity or sadness, whereas the gods are presented as unfair and unwise, and even un-good. Maybe there is something in between good and evil, and maybe that is where most of us fall.
But despite all that, the characters (and story) have a very clear conscience from beginning to end. The character development is completely believable, if heartbreaking at times, and the story is flawlessly crafted. It transitions seamlessly between four points of view, with each character having a very distinct voice. This book is impossible to put down, and left me constantly questioning what would happen next. But, be forewarned, it ends in a massive cliffhanger.