A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Mark of Athena is the third in The Heroes of Olympus series that spun off from the uber-popular Percy Jackson series about teen demigods (one Greek or Roman god parent) on quests to save humanity from ancient monsters still at large in the world. Rick Riordan combines plenty of action and danger (usually not gory but sometimes scary) mixed with lots of humor and learning. As in Book 2, The Son of Neptune, there are more comparisons between the Roman and Greek aspects of the gods, but in this book readers will also get a mini-tour of Rome. There's a little more kissing in this installment -- Percy and Annabeth are back together (at last!), and they get in trouble with the ship's "chaperone" Coach Hedge when they fall asleep talking after hours.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Leo's amazing flying/sailing ship the Argo II arrives in New Rome (California) to greet Roman demigods in peace and friendship and reunite with Percy Jackson. Unfortunately, the peace and friendship part doesn't go so well. Leo gets possessed by some vengeful spirits and starts shooting fireballs everywhere, necessitating a pretty hasty exit with Percy and Romans Hazel and Frank. Now they have all seven demigods on board for the prophesied quest (plus the crazy satyr chaperone Coach Hedge), but they're also being chased by Romans across the country -- and they know where the Greek Camp Half-Blood is. There's no time for demigod infighting, though. The seven must follow the prophesy to Rome to save the world from certain destruction by garishly dressed twin giants. Luckyily for Camp Half-Blood, Annabeth has another quest as well -- searching for a symbol powerful enough to restore the rift between Greeks and Romans; a symbol only a child of Athena, like Annabeth, can find.
Is it any good?
These adventures add up to another great quest fantasy fans will want to embark on.
Holding a fast-paced fantasy-quest-adventure together with seven different heroes that deserve almost equal weight has the potential to really weigh the story down. And yes, sometimes the action stops and readers will want to get back to their old pal Percy again.
But, overall, every hero takes a turn at being awesome. Near the beginning Leo's ruse against Narcissus is pretty hilarious. At the climax, Annabeth's trick against her particular nemesis (not giving anything away) is quite brilliant.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how each demigod hero contributes to the quest. What do Percy and Jason realize about each other by book's end?
All the demigods have some pretty cool powers, but how often do the they use brains instead of brawn (or tidal waves or lightning or fireballs) to get out of sticky situations?
Are you excited about the next installment? Do you like book series or stand-alone books better? Why?
- Author: Rick Riordan
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Ocean Creatures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: October 2, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 11
- Number of pages: 608
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 20, 2019
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love fantasy and Percy Jackson
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.