Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: October 2, 2012
AR levels: TBA
Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12127750-the-mark-of-athena
In a nutshell: The Prophecy of the Seven is coming to pass, and it has united Greek demigods Percy, Annabeth, Leo, and Piper with Roman demigods Jason, Frank, and Hazel in a dangerous quest to the Ancient Lands to try to stop Gaea from taking over the world. The newly formed Greek and Roman friendships will be tested, and the seven will have to learn to work together and put aside their pride to save the world and save the gods. To make matters more complicated, a crazed Athena has tasked Annabeth with a age-old perilous solo mission to Rome to follow the Mark of Athena and find a way to avenge her and hopefully bring peace to the Greek and Roman demigods once and for all. Told from the perspectives of Annabeth, Leo, Piper, and Percy, the third novel in the Heroes of Olympus series shines as one of Riordan's best. It's a heart-pumping yet emotional tale that is sure to please fans and leave them wanting more...and soon!
I'd recommend it for grades: 4 and up (I know plenty of adults who love these too, and you could even read these aloud to kids as young as five I think.)
I'd recommend it to: Percy Jackson fans obviously, but also fans of Greek or Roman mythology or kids who enjoy a fast-paced page-turner with a side of romance and a healthy dose of humor
What I liked most about this book: I love that we finally got to hear the point of view of my favorite character, the stormy-eyed anything-but-dumb blonde Annabeth! She rocks it in this one. This is really her story, and boy does she have a tough road ahead of her. Annabeth is quickly becoming my second favorite female YA character of all time. No one will ever come before Hermione Granger, but Annabeth Chase sure does give her a run for her money!
The comic relief in the book comes mostly through Leo Valdez, who is also becoming one of my favorites. This new series has a serious lack of Grover, but Leo is filling that void nicely. He seems to be taking on more of a leadership role as well, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to grow in the last two books.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There's a shout out to the Twilight series that involves a Team Leo t-shirt that made me laugh out loud so hard that I thought my downstairs neighbors might complain. :)
Star rating (where 5 stars is amazing and 0 stars is atrocious): I'd give this 15 stars if I could. This is my new favorite Riordan book. I liked it even more than any of the original Percy Jackson books, and that's saying something.
P.S.: I got to hear Rick Riordan speak in Winston-Salem last week as part of the book tour, and he was INCREDIBLE! He's truly an inspiration to teachers, librarians, kids, and budding authors. My copy of The Mark of Athena is signed, and this makes me very happy. You know what else makes me happy? The fact that his next series is going to be based on Norse mythology, be set in modern times, and will probably involve demigods. Get your giant hammers ready!