Aquariums, Battleships, and Statues REVIEWING The Mark of Athena

Welcome back to another review here at The Real World According To Sam on another Magic Monday

Today is another day that we countdown to Nero!!

We are 7 weeks and 1 day away from the release of The Tower of Nero (October 6, 2020)!

This is a The Son of Neptune SPOILER LAND, clearly, because this is a sequel. 
This review of The Mark of Athena is completely spoiler free for this installment.

Let's jump in!

The Mark of Athena

Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Year: 2012

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 now 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 Mark 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...


So here we all are, finally together again! That's right Percy and Annabeth are back together and we are combining both teams of demigods that we have come to know in the previous two books! Instead of switching between three different character voices for chapter narration, we have four characters, all of whom are Camp Half-Blood based for the most part (since Percy crosses both camps at this point). Annabeth, Percy, Leo, and Piper are our four narrators. Each voice is still distinct, but now we have several mission components going at one time. We get to see team splits, which we really haven't gotten before. I like seeing how the group tries to balance out their abilities to get the best potential results. However, we also get some nervous energy across the ship. 

Speaking of the ship, Festus is back in action and ready to use his head! Literally. He serves as the masthead of the Argo II, with his head as the main piece. Happy the dragon is set for the business of...well, looking pretty when he isn't charged up and ready to go battery power wise. Otherwise, he is all set to look for a fight and help out the ship's crew. Our favorite campers find their ship under attack when Leo suddenly fires upon Camp Jupiter and starts up a Roman-Greek war. After fleeing from the conflict and officially beginning their quest, they find out Leo doesn't remember doing so, and he was basically possessed. So now on top of worrying about the dangers of new baddie, Gaea, our heroes have to also worry about being possessed by an unknown force. 

On top of starting wars and trying to keep Mother Earth from killing everyone, our heroes are taking their journey farther than they've ever gone before! We're going to Atlanta! Okay, I'm kidding, but I'm also not. In this one we get to go over the ocean, which is completely forbidden and dangerous, but hey, since when do demigods listen to rules? We do make a stop over in Kansas, as well as Atlanta, where we get to take a stop into the Georgia Aquarium. This is a big deal to me, because it was one of the zoological facilities I most wanted to go to and actually DID get to visit last summer. Reading about it now, in this book, was like getting to revisit, and it was also like back in The Titan's Curse when we went to Cloudcroft. It's just so much fun to read about characters having adventures in places I'm familiar with. So anyway, the road trip element is still checked off the must-have list for Riordan books with this story.  

Fun characters are also checked off, as well as certain doom and danger. This story focuses a lot on Annabeth, and it is really the first book where we get to see Annabeth and Percy as a full couple. We spend a lot of time seeing their interactions, worries, and fears after everything that happened over the last seven books. After five books of will they-won't they, and two books where Percy and Annabeth are not together at all, we finally get to see their relationship dynamic! I have to's about TIME! Naturally though, this can't be the norm, because at the end of the book there is an insane cliffhanger, but we're not going to talk any more about that here. As I was saying, this book focuses a lot on Annabeth. She is trying to figure out her place now that they know there are two camps and that she may cause trouble for them both during this adventure. She also has to contend with continually facing danger while trying to get back to normalcy with her boyfriend. There is a lot to unpack here, but this is ultimately the Annabeth show, and I'm all for it. Annabeth has been one of my favorite characters from the beginning of the first series, so it is nice to see her face more conflict, more struggle, and more danger. She definitely gets pulled out of her comfort zone quite a bit. 

Overall, this is a really fun book that gives fans a lot of what we have been wanting. It also ups the stakes on the adventure and stretches the boundaries of demigod danger. I give The Mark of Athena a Lone Star rating of ✯✯✯✯. The cliffhanger is absurdly intense and the stakes just seem to get higher and higher with every book. This is a must-read for fans of Percy Jackson and his friends.

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them.