No more sidekick

The Mark of Athena 
(The Heroes of Olympus #3) 
Rick Riordan
Kindle Edition, 574 pages published October 2012

Finally the seven demigods are together to undertake the quest that will hopefully stop Gaia from being woken and taking over the world.
The action is fast, the twist and turns keep coming, the battles are furious and Riordan has crafted an engaging novel to keep you turning the pages to find out what is happening next.
Riordan has continued telling the story from multiple points of view for a couple of chapters and then switching to another character. On the whole the chopping from one character to another mostly works but towards the end the limitations of the approach become apparent. Leo, Hazel and Frank locked in a room, with baddies on the way, have to explain after the fact how they escaped rather than the reader being part of the adventure.
At times I wondered about why we were switching between characters as it did not seem to really propel the story along. The individual chapters really came across as the character not telling some secret about themselves and gave them time to express a great deal of teenage angst. The characters would wonder about how they fit in with the group, does the boy/girl still like them and are they of any value on the quest.
The big plus for this novel and fans of the series is that the voice of Annabeth Chase is heard for the very first time and she has the opportunity to tell her side of the story.  Annabeth is one of the most popular characters in the series and for seven novels she has been silent. Finally she emerges from Percy’s shadow and is no longer the ‘sidekick’.
The ending is a great cliffhanger for the series and certainly sets up (hopefully) an interesting fourth book.
For more on Rick Riordan check out his website

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