I was very wary of reading the Heroes of Olympus series especially after I found out that Percy and Annabeth also appear in it. This was partly due to the fact that I liked the way the Percy Jackson series ended and where it left the characters and I did not want that memory tainted by whatever Rick Riordan decided to do in the new series. But I finally gave in because there was a positive side to the series as well: more Percy and Annabeth and what Percy Jackson fan would not want more of their favourite characters (especially in their slightly older avatars) While I enjoyed The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune, my favourite by far is the Mark of Athena.This book seemed more serious in tone than the two previous books, but that doesn’t mean that they were both balls of sunshine. There was plenty of gloom and doom in both of them but in the third book, the stakes just seemed to be much higher. Also the previous books set up the environment and the new characters, it was only in this book that our Heroes united and left for their quest. Plus we finally had Annabeth narratives!! She hardly appeared in the first book and in the second was only mentioned. So I was happy to get me some Annabeth time (she’s my favourite Percy Jackson character so please bear with me)Anyway, so the Greek heroes: Jason(I’m a little confused, is he still Roman or is Greek), Piper and Leo along with Annabeth and Coach Gleeson, make their way to the Roman camp and for a little while things seem to be going great. Percy and Annabeth are reunited (and since Annabeth was involved, you can be sure it was memorable and very different from what you had probably imagined) But before long things went absolutely haywire, Leo’s ship the Argo II started firing at the Roman camp and the seven of them: Jason, Piper, Leo, Percy, Annabeth, Frank and Hazel, had no choice but to leave immediately. They continued to make their way to Rome and Greece and on their journey met many monsters and as if that wasn’t bad enough the Romans were hot on their trail. So they had to overcome those annoying monsters and the Romans (under an even more annoying Octavian) While all of this was going on, all of the seven on the quest were also getting visits from Gaea and also seeing some variation of the future and it was only making them more uneasy. (end of summary)This book definitely focused more on Annabeth. The title should’ve made that pretty obvious, The Mark of Athena. She’s definitely older and more mature although she was always the more mature of the trio so if she got any more mature, she’s be more like an old lady than a teenaged girl. Also of the entire lot, I think, Annabeth is the one person who is most likely to make difficult decisions. Right from the start I knew that whatever task had been set for her would be very tough and in that regard, the climax did not disappoint in the least. But that’s what makes her such an awesome character, she has no power to rely upon except her intelligence and she still manages to kick ass and be awesome!! (Yaay Annabeth!!)The other heroes do just as well and they were learning to work together. I’m not normally a fan of the split narrative, it can sometimes be confusing and not to mention break the flow of events when you jump from one character narrative to another, but I get why it works here. Since there are so many primary characters it is very easy for them to get lost and lose their individuality. The split narrative gives them that individuality and also gives us an insight into their thoughts and their hopes and fears. The jump in the narrative was a little annoying at first, but you get used to it. There are so many things happening that you can’t help but get completely caught up in the story. I just thought that Hazel and Frank were a little side-lined in this book. I’m still not sure if I’m a big fan of Jason but I like Piper. She can keep her cool in a tight situation and she thinks things through. Plus she’s the only daughter of Aphrodite who’s not a complete ditz and self-obsessed. Leo is a lot of fun. He’s funny and always protective of his friends. Oddly, of all of them, he’s the only one who’s still single. Although there might still be hope for him because of that whole Hazel and Sammy thing.. You never know.. I hate love triangles and while i would be very happy for Leo and Hazel it would also make me sad about Frank, he seems like such a sweet guy. But in this book, his insecurities did seem to be getting the better of him.. Of the new lot, Piper and Leo are so far my favourites. I also really liked the character of Reyna, I have a feeling that she will play a slightly bigger part in the next book, House of Hades. She’s no-nonsense and tough (like a Roman version of Annabeth) We meet more characters from the Greco-Roman mythologies and needless to say most are far from friendly. The villains this time around are definitely harder to kill and it just goes to show that whatever else the Heroes might have achieved earlier, they will need to rally all of their wits and strength to make sure that they defeat Gaea and her various minions.I really liked the pace of the book, not once did I think that it dragged or Riordan hurried certain parts. There was pretty much non-stop action and it kept me very alert and I was dying to know how it would all play out. I am a little uncertain of Nico’s part in the story, because we already have the seven heroes mentioned in the prophecy, so what is he, the eighth wheel?? Maybe his role is to guide them to their next destination and let them take it from there. Who know but I guess we’ll find out.The next book comes out on the 8th of October and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it! I am trying very hard to not give out spoilers here but it is impossible.. I can’t wait to find out how Percy and Annabeth are coping in Tartarus and how they plan to stay away from and/or deal with all the monsters in there. I swear if Rick Riordan messes with Percy and Annabeth, I’m gonna be so mad!! Percy and Annabeth better get their happily ever after or else!!!!! And by saying this I don’t mean that I don’t care about the others, I do but I’m emotionally more invested in those two than I am with the rest of the gang.. But hey, while we’re at it, happy endings for everyone!!!But regardless, I loved The Mark of Athena and all of my doubts about new series were finally laid to rest. In the meantime, I might re-read Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters since the movie is slated for an August release. I wonder how they’re gonna introduce Kronos in the second movie when they made no mention of him in the first one. I don’t have very high expectations from the film (at least this way I don’t set myself up for disappointment) but I still wanna see it and hopefully it’ll be better than the Lightning Thief (they gave Annabeth blond hair so we can hope)So that’s it for now and hopefully Rick Riordan will hear my plea and ease off Percy and Annabeth.