The Mark of Athena is the third of five volumes in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, the follow on series from the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

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My children and I have been steadily reading these, one after the other, and this makes our eighth journey into the amazing mythical world Rick Riordan creates. In this series we get an intriguing blend of both Greek and Roman history and mythology, brought slap bang up to date in the modern world. It is a winning formula that so far hasn’t become tired for any of us, either me as the reader or they as the listeners.

In this story, Annabeth takes centre stage, journeying to modern day Rome with her six friends in order to find the long lost statue of Athena that it is prophesied will help bring an end to the impending Titan war.

Having said that, other characters get their fair share of pages too, to advance their own narratives, which given the book is about seven hundred pages long is fair enough. We particularly love the character of Leo. He’s such an appealing character and we love the way his narrative interweaves with that of Hazel and Frank.

We were a little sad that Ella, the harpy didn’t really feature in this book, but we’re sure she will turn up in the next volume, which we’re already several chapters into.

The books are fantastic for confident sole readers aged about eight and up, particularly if their interest lays in the world of myth and magic. The language is quite technical, so struggling readers will find this challenging, particularly with the length of the book giving them no respite. 

It is equally appealing to both boys and girls, having strong characters of both sexes and a great story line that packs punch after narrative punch and really keeps you hooked.

You will need to read these stories from the beginning to get the most out of them. Ideally you should start way back at the beginning with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, but otherwise you will need to start at volume one of the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero.

It’s worth it.

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