The Mark of Athena: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Mark of Athena: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3 Book Poster Image
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Seven demigods in one sweet ride are off to save Rome.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 68 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This is the second in the series to deal with both Greek and Roman gods and their demigod children. There are more comparisons between the Roman and Greek aspects of each god and minor gods such as Nemesis, Arachne, and Achelous get cameos while their ancient myths are explained. There's also a handy glossary in the back to help keep names and Greek/Roman terms straight. Also consistent with the series: a quest where demigods visit real places. Facts about the Civil War come up in Charleston (mixed with a little god lore), and real Rome landmarks are explored.

Positive Messages

Certain themes resonate throughout the series, such as friendship, loyalty, and trust, and that people with diverse backgrounds need to learn to work together to defeat a common evil. Believing in yourself, facing your greatest fears, and rising to meet extreme challenges are also important -- this is a series about heroes, after all. Specific to The Mark of Athena is the danger of too much pride and vengeful thoughts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Percy and Jason are both born leaders and have a potential to really butt heads; instead they learn to combine forces to defeat enemies. Percy and Jason also hand the leadership over to Annabeth who proves to be very capable and brilliant, as always. Piper may be a daughter of Aphrodite, but it's her bravery and not her "charmspeak" and looks that save her life. Poor Leo is chided by Nemesis for being the "seventh wheel," and begins to despair about being surrounded by couples but still throws all his ingenuity and skill into his amazing ship and in helping the quest succeed.


The seven demigod heroes do lots of fighting against all manner of fantastical creatures. The ship Argo II flies and floats, so they're attacked by air and by sea continuously. The biggest battle is against giants, and the scariest is against a giant spider. A demigod hacks off a god's horn. One demigod trapped in a bottle as bait has days to live and the giants who kidnapped him threaten to destroy all of Rome and then the world. There are plenty of injuries, including a sprained ankle and concussions that are healed more quickly with ambrosia, plus possession by spirits (eidolons) that cause demigods to fight each other.


More kissing here than in previous books because Percy and Annabeth (both 17) are together again and Jason and Piper (16) are still a couple. Percy and Annabeth get in trouble with their chaperone Coach Hedge when they fall asleep talking after hours.


Demigods in danger often shout "gods!"


Lots of quick mentions of products like Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Kool-Aid, and iPhones and a great plug for the movie Roman Holiday.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Roman wine god Bacchus appears but drinks Diet Pepsi, and his Greek form Dionysus drinks Diet Coke.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byaubriellem May 12, 2015

Mark of Athena

ANNABETH NARRATES! That is frickin amazing but it puts you inside her head when she gets reunited with Percy so...maybe not the cleanest thing ever.
Parent Written bytreat02 December 6, 2012

Very well thought out

This is so well-made, and very enjoyable! Violence is a little rough, but is described very well so that's why it's more "violent". Wonderfu... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 29, 2012

Phenomenal Read....Soul Crushing Cliff-Hanger

After secretly crying in my room wondering when Percy and Annabeth would finally reunite, this book filled a void in my heart....Yet its ending opened up a new... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDaughterofWisdom January 10, 2020

An Amazing Book with Strong, Smart Role Models

I definitely have recommended this book to countless other kids and parents. Every chapter leaves me thinking about how strong the characters are and how powerf... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and Percy Jackson

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