The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. It takes place in the same world as his Percy Jackson series, wiThe Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. It takes place in the same world as his Percy Jackson series, with only a few of the main characters from the last series crossing over. At the end of the Percy Jackson series, the Titans had been defeated, Mount Olympus was restored and all was well. Until, of course, the next crisis.
The Heroes of Olympus series involves not one but two camps having to save the world. The Greeks of Camp Half-Blood and the Romans of Camp Jupiter. Of course, neither knew the other existed until Hera pulled Percy Jackson out of Camp Half-Blood and Jason Grace out of Camp Jupiter and plopped them in the opposite camp without their memory. The first book, The Lost Hero, tells Jason's story. The second book, The Son of Neptune, tells Percy's story. In this, the third book, members of the two camps finally come together to quest and stop the rise of Gaea. I'd been looking forward to this one quite a bit, as I enjoyed the previous series and the previous books in this series quite a bit.
Things don't go smoothly for Annabeth, Jason, Piper and Leo when they land in Camp Jupiter. They aren't trusted by some and, when Leo is taken over by an Idolan and fires on the camp, they need to beat a hasty retreat and start their quest. Percy, Hazel and Frank join the group in their quick retreat to their flying trireme and they head toward Rome to try to stop Gaea.
Annabeth has another task. She's been tasked by her mother, Athena, to follow her mark and find something that was stolen from her when the Romans conquered the Greeks. As much as she'd like the help of her boyfriend, Percy, she's got to go this one alone.
I enjoyed the story itself very much. It was good to see Percy and Annabeth back together, and the dynamic between the five heroes was interesting. I loved that it wasn't an easy journey in any sense of the word. I'm also glad to have the mystery of Hazel and Leo cleared up. Each character got a good amount of screen time (though a little less to Jason and Frank, but not by much) and there was some good character development in the story. And the ending - even if my husband did call it - had my heart in my throat. It really makes me want to pick up the next book as soon as it comes out to see what's going to happen next.
That said, there were a few things that niggled at me as I listened to the story. There was a lot of passive voice in this story. I don't remember as much telling in the previous books as I saw in this one. But that could be my memory. Also, Percy's little, "What do you mean they didn't want to meet me?" scene when Leo and Frank came back from seeing Chiron's brothers struck me as shades of Harry Potter in The Order of the Phoenix Very whiny, very self-absorbed. I'd never really gotten that feeling regarding Percy before. I'm glad that it wasn't something that continued through out the rest of the book.
I listened to the audio book and, like in my review of The Son of Neptune, I had a lot of problems with the pronunciations of some of the names. Having heard some of the God names pronounced differently most of my life, it was very jarring and took me out of the story. Otherwise, his reading was very good. He had fairly distinctive voices for each character and kept the flow of the book moving quite well. I'm probably still going to listen to the audio books for the rest of the series, even though I know the pronunciation issues will be there.
All said, it was a fairly good book. Excellent story, with a few minor quibbles, and some issues with the reader....more
I first found John Barrowman through Doctor Who. He played the sexy, omni-sexual Captain Jack. I watched him through his appearances in that show andI first found John Barrowman through Doctor Who. He played the sexy, omni-sexual Captain Jack. I watched him through his appearances in that show and the spin-off show, Torchwood. I started looking up things about him online. And, recently, I picked up his first autobiography, Anything Goes. Reading it made me realize even more what a talented, funny and great man he was. And as I was looking for more things by or about him, I found that he and his sister, Carole, had written a YA Fantasy book. For all that I'd seen his creativity in his acting and on the stage, I was curious if he'd have the same amount of creativity in a fantasy novel. And the answer was "yes".
Hollow Earth is the story of a pair of twins with a very special gift - the ability to make their art come to life. The are what is known as Animare - a group of superbly talented artists going back centuries at least with this ability. But when, at the start of the book, they are rushed out of London by their mother to their grandfather's home in Scotland, they've start to realize that there's a whole lot more happening than they could have ever expected. Everyone wants them - and they need to find out why before it's too late.
A majority of the story takes place in modern day, with occasional flashbacks to the middle ages and another boy who apprenticed under a monk with these same abilities. At first, it's an interesting look into the past but, beyond them both involving Animare, it didn't seem to have much to do with the story in the present. By the end of the book, however, it became necessary for the plot in the present. I am curious, however, if we'll see more of Solon (the character from the past) in the future books.
I enjoyed watching Emily and Matt (the twins) power grow as they progressed through the story. I could relate to their frustrations knowing that adults around them refused to trust them with what was happening around them. I couldn't blame them some of the risks they were taking with their power. I also really liked the bond that was growing between Emily and Zach, the son of an old friend of their parents. Zach is training to become a Guardian - one who bonds with an Animare to help keep them safe from the world and the world safe from them (since the powers can get pretty dangerous). I also thought it very believable that both the kids and the adults thought they were getting one over on the other generation, only to be partially successful.
There were some times when I felt that the characters weren't quite as deep as I would have liked. Matt, in particular, had a lot of moments where he seemed only like an angry young boy. But by the end of the book, even that was smoothed out some and we were able to see more of who he was.
In closing, while this wasn't the best book that I've read this year, it was a very enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the saga, The Bone Quill, due out in February. Because the Barrowmans did an excellent job in tying up the immediate loose ends while leaving more than enough questions to pull you in for the next ride....more
Isabel Lindley has always followed her best friend, Tripp, whenever Tripp found a new interest. But when Tripp's interest in witchcraft ends up givingIsabel Lindley has always followed her best friend, Tripp, whenever Tripp found a new interest. But when Tripp's interest in witchcraft ends up giving Isabel a ghost of her own, she just wants out. But it doesn't look like things are going to be too easy - until she, Tripp and the Ghost Boy can figure out who he is and then help him go to the Light. Or something.
This was a book that I won through the Goodreads First Reads giveaways and, thus far, it has become my favorite read of the almost 30 books I've received. (Ok, so it's only the third one that I've read, but I really enjoyed it.) The authors are able to mix just the right amount of humor, paranormal and teenaged-reality into the book that it had me not wanting to close the covers until I'd finished it.
Each of the four main characters (Isabel, Tripp, Marc - the "ghost boy" and Parker, Tripp's nemesis) are people I could easily imagine having been in my high school. They are a bit on the stereo-typical side - the weird girl with the wild hair, the serious, driven geek, the haughty rich boy and the gorgeous latino boy. But they characters seemed to work well together and made me anxious to read more. I could also have seen myself being friends with a couple of girls like Isabel and Tripp when I was in school.
I loved the sniping between Marc and Isabel throughout, with them only realizing at the end that maybe they don't want to be separated from one another. And then wondering if it was too late.
The story kept a good pace through-out, none of it seeming to drag anywhere. The authors brought the reader along, teasing out bits and pieces of what happened to Marc and why and, in the end, slammed them with something they probably hadn't seen coming (at least, I didn't). I'll admit that I was having flashbacks to the Charmed episode, "Dead Man Dating", thinking that Isabel was going to fall in love with a ghost that would have to leave her. Instead, I was very satisfied to read the ending.
The paranormal portions weren't too spooky, though the things on the backs of the students at the school were a bit freaky (basically, ghosts that hadn't crossed over but instead stayed and became bitter, bringing out the worst in the people they latch on to). I'm far from an expert in witchcraft (much of what I know is media based) but things seemed plausible. And the reason for Parker and Tripp's spellings messing each other up seemed like a wonderful way to draw everyone into this sticky wicket.
The authors included the first chapter of the next book, Witch vs Wizard in the back of this one, and it's got me jonsing for the next one to come out. It will be out at some point this year, though I'm not sure when. This is one that, if I can't manage to get a copy through winning it, I will definitely buy. Because I can't wait to see what happens with these four next....more
Jacob grew up on his grandfather's unusual stories of his youth. As a young child, he believed everything his grandfather said was true. But as he gotJacob grew up on his grandfather's unusual stories of his youth. As a young child, he believed everything his grandfather said was true. But as he got older, that belief waned. Still, his grandfather's tales never altered and he continued to insist that the peculiar children he lived with during the war existed. When his grandfather is killed, and Jacob is convinced that he sees one of the creatures from his grandfather's stories in the woods, he starts to rethink his disbelief. He and his father head to the small island off of Wales where his grandfather claimed this unusual orphanage existed. Here, Jacob will find out the truth regarding the stories his grandfather told... and the truth of who he is.
I'd seen this book on many friends' read lists and each time, they'd reviewed it favorably. Being a book with fantastic elements was something I knew would be right up my alley. And with so many people recommending it, I knew I'd need to read for myself what the fuss was about. And I'm very glad that I did.
The story was a perfect melding of prose and unusual, sometimes impossible seeming photographs. As the story was told and a photograph was mentioned, you would see it on the next page. And being able to see what Jacob was talking about as he described the picture just added to it.
The story itself was incredibly engaging, to the point that I wanted to stay up all night reading it. I wanted to know how Jacob's life was going to change and how the children that he meets at Miss Peregrine's would react to him. I was carried along and, at the end, very anxious to hear the rest of the story. I can't wait until the second book comes out. It'll be on my reading list close to immediately.
When I finished this book, all I could think was, "This is The 39 Clues version of The Demigod Files." And I say that as a good thing. It was a greatWhen I finished this book, all I could think was, "This is The 39 Clues version of The Demigod Files." And I say that as a good thing. It was a great way to reacquaint oneself with the major players before the Cahills vs Vespers series starts, plus is a great jumping off point for learning more about certain figures in history. Now, as far as I know, there is no great family of Cahills that have been maneuvering the world for 500 years (and if there was, since I'm not a Cahill, I wouldn't know, would I?). But it is interesting to think what various historical figures would have done in their search for the clues. (I don't think it's been addressed, but I could imagine Agatha Christie's disappearance would have been because of a clue hunt.)
It's a good book for when you have short bursts of time in which to read. Each part is only a few pages long, yet it still packs a ton of information into each bit without it feeling overwhelming. Like I've said in the past, I think the 39 Clues series is a great one for getting kids interested in history and historical figures. It tells just enough about them to whet the appetite and leave kids (and adults) anxious for more. I've got several people that I don't remember hearing about that I'm going to be reading up on thanks to this book.
There were two parts of this book that I enjoyed above all others - the introduction, written by Rick Riordan and telling the story of the first face to face meeting of the Cahills responsible for putting the story of the 39 Clues out there in the hopes of protecting Amy and Dan. It was a fun read and I loved having a different look at the authors.
The other were the agent reports. Written as short vignettes rather than factual information blurbs, it helped bring the reader back into the world of the 39 Clues very easily. But then again, I really like good fiction.
I would definitely suggest waiting until after you've read the first ten books before picking up The Black Book of Buried Secrets, unless you don't mind being spoiled. It doesn't give away every little bit but it does have some pretty major spoilers throughout. It's not a necessity to read before you start the Cahills vs Vespers series, but I do think you would thank yourself for reading it....more
I picked up the original as an audio book for one of our trips and fell in love with this series. When Rich found the graphic novelization at the librI picked up the original as an audio book for one of our trips and fell in love with this series. When Rich found the graphic novelization at the library a few weeks ago and took it out for me. I'm not sure why I let it sit to the side, unread, for awhile, but I didn't pick it up until later this week.
Graphic Novelizations are things that are usually hit and miss with me. Sometimes the writer pulls out my favorite parts and the artist brings the characters into view the way I saw them in my own mind. Other times, I find a part I was looking forward to was nowhere to be found and the artwork doesn't work for me. This was one firmly fits into the first category. The layout and artwork fit perfectly with what I'd remembered from the original. It was beautifully done and the story included the humor along with the more serious moments that had been in the original.
If you have a reluctant reader, I'd suggest handing them this one - particularly if they enjoy fantasy. It is a great introduction to a wonderful series....more
Percy Jackson is one of my favorite characters in children's literature. And, while I enjoyed getting to know Jason, Piper and Leo in The Lost Hero, iPercy Jackson is one of my favorite characters in children's literature. And, while I enjoyed getting to know Jason, Piper and Leo in The Lost Hero, it was nice to read about Percy again. And meeting Hazel and Frank, along with the rest of Camp Jupiter (the Roman version of Camp Half-Blood) was like old friends introducing me to new friends.
The book was as exciting as the previous ones set in this world, with surprises peppered throughout the book that I never saw coming. Riordan's writing is exciting, keeping the reader anxious to hear more. Some of the lines that he had various characters say alternately cracked me up and made me want to adopt them as mantras. The characters mesh well and seem very realistic - for demi-gods.
There was only one problem I had with the audio book edition, and that was the pronunciation of Gaea. I'd always pronounced it (and heard it pronounced) Geye-ah. The reader pronounced it GE-ah. And each time he said it, I shuddered. Maybe I'd heard it pronounced wrong all this time. But it still bugged me.
I've got the paper copy of the book coming soon as well, and I'm going to reread it then. Because a) it was a good book and 2) I don't know what I may catch on the second read through. If you've loved the Percy Jackson series, you'll enjoy this one as well. If you love reading about mythology, you'll enjoy the series. And once you've read them, you'll want Fall, 2012 to hurry up and get here for the next installment of the series....more